Evidence of Cougar Found in Quabbin
Quabbin Voices, March 1999
A scat sample sent by wildlife tracker John McCarter to a research biologist in New York has tested positive for cougar or mountain lion, DNA. McCarter found the sample while on a hike through Quabbin in April 1997. Cougars have not been documented in the wild in Massachusetts since 1868, and there is no conclusive evidence that they currently exist anywhere else in the state. According to a February 2nd article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, McCarter suspects that this cougar may have been released into the wild, although he believes the growing number of reported sights of the animal by hunters, trackers and other experienced outdoorsmen lends weight to the theory that there may be some cougars in the wild.
The sample, tested by George Amato of the Wildlife Conservation Society's genetics research program at the Bronx Zoo, was a perfect match with a scat sample taken from a cougar at the zoo.
Although aware of the findings for over a year, the Mass Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has taken no action.
"I think [the DNA discovery] begs some further study," McCarter said. "If there are [cougars in the wild] the DFW needs to come up with a management plan for them. We'd need to take steps to protect them as an endangered species."