Biologists can’t confirm Macoupin County cougar sighting

November 14, 2013 at 11:13 AM

A report of a cougar captured on a trail camera picture in Macoupin County remains unconfirmed.

The color picture, circulated widely on social media Oct. 28, shows a cougar with its nose to the ground.

Unlike many nighttime trail camera images, this one is in color and very sharp.

“One of our biologists interviewed the owner of the camera,” said Bob Bluett, furbearer biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “In his opinion, the person was credible. However, we were not granted access to the property where the camera was set. Therefore, the report is possible but unconfirmed.”

Biologists need to see the place where the camera is located to compare the background and vegetation in the photo with the scene. They also often review the camera’s memory card.

Until last fall, only a handful of cougar sightings had been confirmed in Illinois.

DNR biologists confirmed four trail camera images of cougars last year, although it was thought the same animal could have been captured on camera more than once as it moved through the state.

Cougar, mountain lion, puma and catamount are common names for the same animal.

Comments associated with the Facebook post that was shared more than 6,000 times suggested the DNR had released cougars to help control the deer population. That rumor has circulated on and off for years.

Chris McCloud, spokesman for DNR, said the agency is not releasing cougars.

To read about last year’s confirmed cougar sightings on Prairie State Outdoors, visit: http://tinyurl.com/l2zvq8q.

Chris Young can be reached at 341-8487 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow him at twitter.com/ChrisYoungPSO.