As regular readers know, I am very, very, VERY skeptical that any mountain lions exist in New Hampshire despite the constant parade of “I know what I saw!” I await no actual evidence – game camera shots, prey killed in ways that cougars do it, DNA from scat or hair caught on a fence.
I am less skeptical that wolves might be here because they’re in Quebec unlike any population of mountain lions (yes, I’m familiar with that one report of cougar DNA in Quebec but nobody has replicated it). But that requires evidence, too, and as NHPR reports this evidence is lacking so far. (You can read/hear the piece here)
“I worked on wolves for over a decade and have been to hundreds of wolves kills personally. And it’s pretty, pretty easy to tell when a moose has been killed by wolves,” said Maine Wildlife Division Director Nate Webb. “And that’s just not occurring here in Maine.”
Wolves are more complicated that cougars because coyotes sometimes interbreed with wolves and we have lots of coyotes in New England. Maybe some of them are partially wolf? And is there a point in which a hybrid is more wolf than coyote? Good questions.