BERKSHIRE EAGLE: Christine Poke knows what she saw.

The mountain lion, extinct in the eastern United States as far as biologists are concerned, nonchalantly cut through her Lenox [Massachusetts] neighborhood, making a surprise appearance during her otherwise uneventful morning stroll.

“I was walking down the road here on Galway Court and it crossed right in front of me,” Poke said. “It just crossed the road; it was just very happy and just padded along.”

That was a year ago, and it’s just one of hundreds, probably thousands, of mountain lion sightings in the Berkshires over the past decade – sightings of an animal that doesn’t exist here, according to the U.S. government. There are thriving populations of mountain lions on the West Coast and throughout South America, but in 2011, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife declared them officially extinct in the East, where they lived and hunted until the entirety of the native breeding population was killed off in the 1800s by zealous settlers who deemed them a threat. (READ MORE)

What do you think? Are mountain lions living in the Northeast?