Lester, founder of the Eastern Cougar Foundation, is the only active researcher attempting to document the presence of wild cougars in the East by going out in the field and looking for them. The 38-year-old coal miner uses trail cameras to stake out 25-square-mile tracts of the Monongahela. He leaves the cameras posted on game trails and returns a month later to check the film. So far, Lester is striking out. Last year his cameras captured the images of 639 whitetail deer, 216 black bears, 40 coyotes, 20 bobcats and assorted smaller animals, wild turkeys and ruffed grouse-but no cougars.