Monday, April 14, 2008

Wilmette put on cougar alert

4 reports of sightings spur cops' warning
By Alexa Aguilar | Tribune reporter
9:48 PM CDT, April 13, 2008
Two weeks after several reported sightings of a cougar on the prowl in North Chicago, four Wilmette residents are convinced they saw a big cat, too.
Wilmette police said they received four reports Saturday morning of a cougar in the 300 block of 3rd Street near the CTA Linden station.
Police searched the area, but found no sign of a cougar.
"I've seen deer, opossums, raccoons, foxes and coyotes in this neighborhood," said Gail Teague, a Wilmette resident who lives on 3rd Street. "But a cougar? Now that would be unusual."
About cougars
ENCOUNTERING A COUGAR

- Pick up children immediately.

- Do not approach it. Give the cougar an avenue for escape.

- Do not run; this can trigger an attack.

- Back away without turning your back on it.

- Do all you can to look bigger. Don't hide or crouch down.

COUGAR FACTS

Habitat: Rocky canyons, tropical rain forests, prairies, deserts, forests

Range: North and South America

Length: 7-9 feet Weight: 80-230 pounds

Life span: 15-20 years

Diet: Deer, elk and small mammals
So unusual that there have only been two confirmed cougars found in Illinois in more than a century. In 2000, a train struck and killed a male cougar in Randolph County and in 2004, a bow hunter in Mercer County killed a 95-pound male. Before that, the last confirmed sighting in Illinois of a wild cougar was in southern Illinois in 1862.

But wildlife experts say there is some preliminary evidence that cougars are prowling eastward from their normal habitats west of the Rocky Mountains. In January, a trapper in a Wisconsin town 25 miles from the Illinois border came face-to-face in a barn with a big cat that fled into the woods. Officials tested blood the animal left behind and confirmed it was a cougar.
At the end of March, several North Chicago residents, including a police officer, reported cougar sightings. Officials searched, but found nothing. They did discover the paw print of a "very big cat."
North Chicago is about 20 miles north of Wilmette.
In 2004, there were dozens of reports from people in Lake County who were convinced they saw the big cat. Officials hired a trapper to search out the animal, and schools kept children indoors for recess. A cougar was never found, and officials described some of the sightings as coyotes or large dogs.
Teague said Sunday that she heard the news of the cougar spotting from a neighbor. Other residents expressed surprise and some skepticism about the sighting, but said they would keep their eyes peeled nonetheless.
Wilmette police are asking residents that they not approach the cougar if they see it and to immediately call police.

1 comment:

  1. ha. i thought you meant the human variety. I'm sure Wilmette is teaming with those as well.

    ReplyDelete