Cougars all over

We found the articles on Blue Ridge mountain lion sightings {July 28 news: "Im-paws-ible? Vet sees 'cougar' on Parkway" and several subsequent letters] very interesting.

For more than 40 years we have collected reports from across the mid-Atlantic states, and have logged Virginia as having the fourth highest number of sightings.

In those four-plus decades, some 7,500 sightings were collected across eastern North America. Of this total, 67 percent were listed as very credible with witnesses having game management, law enforcement, or forestry backgrounds.

From data we have collected, there is little doubt– except by arrogant or critical skeptics– that "native, wild" mountain lions continue to prowl the Shenandoah National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway.

The last reported incident occurred near Mile Marker 19, when a Maryland couple on their way to Big Meadows saw a cougar leap across Skyline Drive at 7:15pm on August 15.

If anyone would like to further discuss big cat sightings on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive, or anywhere in Virginia, e-mail epuma@beaconnet.net or call us at 304-749-7778.

John A. Lutz
Eastern Puma Research Network
Maysville, WV