When you get down to the community level you see a whole different view of the world, and it's probably more accurate -- at least on that same local level. I remember when I was in college, one of the classes I took focused on endangered species, and the professor recounted a study of a tortoise in Florida which was considered to be on the brink of extinction until a student spoke up and said, hey! where I live there are tons of those things. Turned out to be true. Sea otters in California survived because people locally knew about them and didn't tell anybody. So I tend to trust local reports, people usually know enough details that you can figure out whether they are making up stories or not. I was buying lumber at a local mill a few years ago when the guy who runs it asked if I wanted to see the wolf he'd shot, he said it looked like a cross between a wolf and a dog, and it probably did. I didn't look, don't like to encourage that kind of behaviour. But I know him as a knowledgeable outdoorsman, who I'm sure reported what he saw (and shot) accurately. I expect he killed a hybrid coyote/dog and thought it was a wolf, it's been several decades since anybody reported a wolf pack in that area, and the last time anyone did have problems with a pack the local people got together and did a hunt and killed them. Sometimes it's better for the animals to say nothing about it. Other people in the area tell me they see black panthers, I trust them over the Park Service. Lots of real stuff happens that isn't official. Animals tend to survive even when we think they can't.