Here's an excerpt from the March 24th article, which gives an idea of the response:
Since we ran a story last week about a federal status review of the eastern cougar, reports of sightings have flowed in over the phone, the Internet and even in a handwritten letter (talk about your endangered species).And here's an excerpt from the prior article (March 13), which details a great sighting just a handful of miles from Portland:
Mountain lions, or what looked like them, were reportedly seen in Standish, Windham, Raymond, Scarborough, New Gloucester, Brunswick, Freeport and lots of other places.
Reports also have been posted on the federal eastern cougar Web site by Mainers and residents of other eastern states where the “ghost cat” also has a healthy following. You can read them, or post your own, here.
A couple of Maine sightings -- one in Cape Elizabeth and one in Monmouth -- are considered the state's most credible cougar encounters. Rosemary Townsend is as sure about what she saw today as she was on that March day in 1995. She saw the cat while walking down a gravel road in a large wooded area near Ram Island Farm in Cape Elizabeth.
"I thought it was a dog originally. Then when I looked at the face I thought, 'Oh my gosh, that's a mountain lion," she said Monday.
The cat was drinking water out of a small pond about 25 yards from her. It lifted its head and looked right at her, Townsend said. She saw its long "bottle-brush tail," a feature that distinguishes lions from lynx or bobcats. Townsend slowly turned around and walked back up the road. "I lost sight of him as I walked away from him, and I didn't go back and look," she said.
Friends convinced her to report the sighting, and biologists checked the area around the pond. They found tracks and hair, which they sent to Oregon for testing, she said. The hair was found to be consistent with mountain lion hair, although officials say no DNA tests -- the most definitive -- were conducted.