DEC: Mysterious animal captured on trail camera a house cat

WEST SAND LAKE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation went to a Rensselaer County neighborhood where a large, mysterious animal was captured on a trail camera.

A trail camera at the end of Erin Mangene’s driveway captured a picture of a mysterious animal. It had the community on edge, and many wondered what it could be.

“The neighbors have been doing research,” Mangene said. “Everybody has.”

Guesses for the mysterious animal include mountain lion, fisher, or an escaped zoo animal. But the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said it was none of those things.

“Just based on the overall appearance of the animal, the size, the coloration, this is either going to be a feral cat or a domestic house cat that’s outside,” DEC Wildlife Manager Michael Clark said.

Clark has been the wildlife manager for 17 years. He said the confusion is common.

“You know, it’s easy to mistake another animal for a mountain lion,” he said.

On Friday, he went to Mangene’s home to investigate. Using a life size cutout of a mountain lion, he tried to recreate the picture.

“The biggest thing is the scale,” he said.

Clark said if there was really a mountain lion on the loose, there would be more proof of its existence.

“These aren’t ghost animals,” he said. “If they were, they would leave some kind of credible, physical evidence.”

But Mangene isn’t buying it.

“From the pictures we got, it clearly looks bigger,” she said.

She said others have come forward with similar stories. Candace Campbell is one of them. She lives up the road.

“I saw this very large cat across the road, from left to right, as I was coming down the hill,” she said.

So while the DEC said neighbors shouldn’t worry, Mangene said she’ll continue to investigate.

“You’re not going to stop until you can put this to bed?” NEWS10 ABC reporter Andrew Banas asked.

“Absolutely,” she responded.

Mangene said she was going to put more cameras in the woods near her house. Only time will tell if she actually finds anything.

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