The New York State DEC has been contacted by several concerned residents in Western New York who say a mountain lion has been on the prowl.

Kittle, Cathy (DEC)
Kittle, Cathy (DEC)
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And indeed, when looking at this still shot from a trail cam, this feline does appear to have mountain lion-esque characteristics. The color scheme is on brand, and its musculature is pretty impressive.

The NYS DEC has always been quick to downplay the presence of mountain lions and cougars in the state. Here is their official stance on it from their website:

"Eastern cougars (mountain lions) do not have a native, self sustaining population in New York State. They have been absent from this state since the late 1800s; however, there have been a few isolated sightings. Each sighting involved cougars that are not native to New York. A couple of sightings involved captive mountain lions that escaped from licensed facilities in New York State."

 

SO WHAT'S THAT ON THE TRAIL CAM?

According to the DEC, the creature on the cam is nothing more than house cat.

In order to prove their conviction, they went out to the exact spot captured on the cam and placed a cutout of an average-sized mountain lion where the creature was.

Kittle, Cathy (DEC)
Kittle, Cathy (DEC)
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As you can see, if the creature were indeed a mountain lion, it would've appeared much larger on the cam. The DEC claims this was a case of mistaken identity based on an object in the environment taken out of scale. They measured the length of the corn and the width of the trail to further prove their point.

NYS DEC
NYS DEC
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NYS DEC
NYS DEC
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Some people on Facebook were still not convinced.

"Are they born that size or do they have to grow into it?" one person quipped.

attachment-293057070_417509263737802_1969005912699522215_n
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I guess my big question is... does the DEC just have random wooden cutouts of various animals on hand? Or did they whip this up specifically for this bit of detective work?

Whatever the case may be, it's fun to see the DEC dip into CSI territory.

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