This kind of review is required by the endangered species act t0 see if the the Eastern Cougar is truly extinct.
Some of the many sightings have no doubt been of escaped captive cougars. Cougars from the West are also claiming the territory.
I would not be surprised if the the Service concludes that any cougars found are domestic releases or escapes and deserve no protection.
People who keep buy wolves, cougars and other such animals on the underground market are not the species or the animal any favors. A good example is the uproar over the sheep-killing, domestic wolf that was released and lived in NE Montana for several years.