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Another cougar in Illinois?

July 31, 2009 at 12:16 PM

Cougar sightings

Anyone who spots a large, cat-like animal near Henry should call the police department at (309) 364-3933.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources also has a Web site for unusual wildlife reports at http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/wildlife/sightings.cfm

 

Two recent sightings of a large, cat-like animal have caught the attention of police officers in Henry.

The Henry Police Department is investigating the reports, both of which came from a residential area on the north edge of town.

“We’ve had a couple sightings of a cat or a large animal that appeared to be a cat anyway,” said Jay Young, chief of police in Henry. “The conservation people in the Department of Natural Resources are not confirming what we’ve seen so far nor are we confirming it.

“The thing that bothers me about it is the people reporting it are very credible. These are people you have to put some credence in what they are seeing.”

Young said the first report was two weeks ago and the second came Tuesday evening. One sighting was in an alley off the 1000 to 1100 block of Edward Street and came from a police officer who asked not to be named.

In the wake of those reports, officers searched unsuccessfully for evidence of a large cat.

“We combed that area the other day and looked at ground that did not have vegetation and we did not see tracks of any kind,” Young said.

Sightings of cougars, also known as mountain lions, have increased in Illinois and nationwide over the past decade.

That includes Tazewell County, where two big-cat encounters were reported in May near Caterpillar Inc.‘s 2,550-acre Peoria Proving Grounds.

Illinois’ last verified wild cougar was a 122-pound male shot April 14, 2008, in an alley in Roscoe Village, a north-side Chicago neighborhood. That cat wandered an estimated 950 miles from South Dakota. Cougars have previously been found dead in 2004 in Mercer County and in 2000 in Randolph County. Prior to that the last recorded cougar was from 1862 in Alexander County.

 

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

dude….when are these stories going to quit being a suprise.  i have seen cougar tracks and trailcam photos of them for 4-5 years now. it aint that big of deal anymore, kinda a known thing

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 07/31 at 09:59 PM

lung, if that’s true - why haven’t you diclosed these pictures to professionals?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/01 at 01:20 AM

What “ad” and be branded a “Kook.”  Keep your trailcam photos, Lung.  You noticed that the police officer did not release his name for the article.  Does that tell you something?

What about the +300 sightings of cougars recorded in the last five years below Interstate 64 in Southern Illinois.  I guess that doesn’t “prove” anything either, since they were not verified with a dead body of a “cat-like” creature.  I’m old enough to remember the old IDOC refusing to believe that “coyotes” existed in Illinois as well.  Most people in Chicago have never seen an Eastern Wild Turkey in the wild, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist in large numbers, does it?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/01 at 04:08 PM

Jeff, with all due respect, articles about “sightings” aren’t really on the cutting edge of this issue. How’s about some in-depth reporting on the IDNR’s management position regarding cougars and their plans for the future? Take that and compare it to what the US Fish and Wildlife Service has to say. You Just might find that certain DNR attorneys have been saying one thing but the feds say another.
....
We sorta moved past the “sightings” side of this when a wild cougar was shot up by Chicagos finest. We were all praying that it would get a hold of Blagojevitch and eat him up like so much cat-chow, but the boys in blue got there first.
.....
Maybe these cats should be protected until we have a huntable population.

Posted by Henry Holt on 08/02 at 10:45 PM

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