This small part of Smoky Mountain Light is dedicated to the effort to confirm effort to record the continuing existence of mountain lions in Western North Carolina in general. I am particularly interested in the possibility of cougars being located within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park boundary. While I believe that many of the reports of lions in western North Carolina can be shown to be something else I also believe that there continues to be a remnant population in the area.
Witness credibility is a key component of the effort to locate panthers in the Smokies. I’ve talked with 2 different GSMNP employees, one attached to wildlife biology, who’ve seen lions themselves in or near the park. A member of my family has also seen one of the cats in the eastern part of the national park. I welcome your reports and would love to see photographic evidence you may have collected. Please know that any report you send will be handled with discretion.