Eastern Cougar Foundation

Cougar Rewilding Foundation

News from the Field


2010 concluded CRF's sanctioned remote wildlife camera surveys in seven eastern states without documenting a single cougar. The proliferation of wildlife cameras - hundreds of thousands are sold annually - and pictures of cougars captured on random cams in the Midwest helped us realize that if cougars were present in the East, such images should also be captured all along the eastern seaboard. However, as of 2016, no random cam pics of cougars have appeared east of the Michigan Upper Peninsula and central Tennessee.

2016 Massachusetts Wildlife reports that tracks were confirmed at Quabbin Reservoir on March 4, 2011. The timing would suggest that it may have been the cat killed in Connecticut three months later.

2015 Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency documents the first wild female cougar east of the Mississippi River from DNA tested from a broken broadhead submitted by a bowhunter in September. Testing reveals her DNA originated in the Black Hills, SD. Random cam pictures of the cat subsequently appear in several NW TN locations through mid-December.

2013 eMammal's citizen science project monitors wildife cameras in 2,100 locations throughout the Southeast U.S. No cougar picures are documented.

2011 June 5, Greenwich, CT, the lone photogragh ever taken of a wild cougar on the East Coast north of Florida. The 3 year-old male is killed by an SUV in Miford six days later. DNA testing reveals he traveled from the South Dakota Black Hills.

2010 December 9, Lake George, NY, cougar tracks and fur documented by the NYS DEC. DNA testing will link evidence to the cat killed in Connecticut six months later.

2006 - 2010 CRF santioned remote camera surveys at High Point State Park, NJ ('06 - '07), Minnewaska State Park Preserve, NY ('07 - '08), Mohonk Preserve, NY ('08 - '09), and Clove Valley, NY ('09 - '10) captured pictures of black bear, coyote, fisher, porcupine, deer, raccoon, squirrel, skunk, and vultures, but no cougars. Thouands of hours of field investigations finds bobcat scrapes, tracks and scat, but no cougar sign.

2007 - 2009 CRF Director Ben Shrader participated in the Smithsonian's Appalachian Trail wildlife cam survey transecting the AT through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia,West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. At 520 locations, no cougar pictures are documented.

2007 Land Between the Lakes NRA Remote Camera Survey.

2003-2004 Remote Camera Search in the Southern Monongahela National Forest. Click here to see a PDF (1.33MB) Presentation summarizing Todd Lester's work and the conclusions that were derived from it. This slide show was prepared by ECF Board Member Dr. Marcella Kelly for the 3rd Midwestern-Puma Conference held in Ontario in late May 2007. "You will see many remote camera photographs of cougars in the document.  They were captured in Belize by Dr. Kelly and her associates."


2004 Field Season Closes.  Read Todd Lester's log.


To read the 2003 Camera Survey log entries and see samples of the photos obtained, see the 2003 Camera Survey Field Log Page.  


For a comparison of the numbers of photos obtained in the 2003 and 2004 field seasons, see the Camera Survey Comparison.


To read about the grants that ECF was awarded to conduct non-intrusive field surveys for cougars, see the Remote Camera Field Survey page. 

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