Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Cougar in our neighborhood?

     This past summer we've had our suspicions about a possible cougar living in our area.  A week ago Sunday it was confirmed by 2 of our daughters as they headed back to college.  They saw within 15' of their car a cougar walking down the road and cross in front of them. 
     I've been doing lots of reading about them since we live on a farm and have small children.  This is what I came up with from the state DNR site....

"Cougars (Puma concolor) also known as puma, mountain lion, panther, catamount, American lion, and mishibijn (Ojibwa), once roamed throughout the state of Wisconsin. It was one of three wild cats native to the state, along with the bobcat (Lynx rufus) and the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis). Currently bobcats are the only known breeding wild cat in the state, with a fall population of about 3000 in northern Wisconsin, and lower numbers in other portions of the state. Canada lynx do not appear to breed in Wisconsin, but rare visits are made to the state from this northern wildcat. Wild cougars probably disappeared from the state by about 1910, but reports again began to surface in the 1940s of possible cougars in the state. These were probably of escaped captive cougars or misidentifications. Since the 1940s various naturalists and wildlife biologists collected reports of cougar observations.
Since 1991, the Wisconsin DNR has conducted a standardized system of collecting reports of cougars and other rare mammals. On January 18, 2008 a cougar was sighted near Milton, in Rock County, Wisconsin. The sighting was verified as 'cougar' from the tracks and DNA from a small drop of blood from a cut on the foot. Tracks were also found near Elkhorn, about 23 miles southeast of the Milton sighting. In early 2009, a cougar was sighted in Burnett County. Then in late 2009, a cougar was confirmed via tracks and photos travelling from St. Croix into Dunn County. Tracks and other sightings have also been confirmed in northern Wisconsin in 2010. For more details or to report a cougar observation, visit the DNR's "Cougar Sighting"

This is a picture of one I found on the DNR web site

I'm really excited that we are going to be able to set up a trail camera to see if we'll see anything like the above picture.   Please, if anyone sees one in the area please report it. 

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