An environmental group has started a database of public sightings of cougars in the Adirondacks in an effort to determine whether there's any truth to rumors that have circulated over the years about the big cats.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says cougars are extinct in the eastern United States, although they're plentiful out West. But there have been numerous anecdotal reports in the Adirondacks of people spotting the cats, also known as mountain lions.
Naturalist Peter O'Shea tracked Adirondack cougar reports for years, noting several hundred reported sightings since the early 1990s. Now, Protect the Adirondacks is taking over the task.
Protect's director, Peter Bauer, says the group will work with wildlife experts to investigate credible reports.