More Chicago cougar sightings

April 02, 2008 at 08:52 AM

Residents and authorities in North Chicago are on what appears to be an almost comical state of high alert regarding recent sightings of an apparent cougar in Lake County.

Officials have been receiving reports of a big cat since Friday. More reports were called in Sunday, according to the Lake County News-Sun, including one from a police officer who nearly struck the animal with his squad car.

If this has the sound of a Keystone Cops episode, consider that an armed officer has also been stationed at the Park District Youth Center to keep watch for the big cat. In fairness, though, there were apparently credible reports of the cat on top of the youth center last Friday.Illinois Outdoors

For more details, click here to read the latest story by Nicholas Alajakis and Dan Moran.

There have been numerous paw prints found in the snow (see picture at right) and in the mud around the area. Better yet, on Sunday an eyewitness spotted the cat heading into the Greenbelt Forest Preserve.

“We stared at each other for about one minute before I slowly backed away,” the resident told the News-Sun. “I am a hunter, and there was no mistaking this animal for a deer. It was approximately five feet long, and was without a doubt a cougar.”

The latest plan is apparently to track the animal with help from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and, if possible, to tranquilize the cat.