Friday, April 18, 2008
Experts are searching for track evidence, and possible deer kill carcasses to determine and confirm another cougar in the Chicago region. On Wed, April 15Th, another cougar was spotted in the Skokie Lagoons in Wilmette, a suburb north of Chicago by 2 joggers. A policeman nearby saw a cougar chasing 2 deer. These sightings were near Willow Road, and Forest View Way near the bike path. The following day Police heavily searched the 1500 acre site on foot, ATVs, and with helicoptors, but found no big cat.
However, since the Skokie Lagoons, as well as many of the forest preserves around here are full of low swampy heavily flooded areas in Spring, the police were hindered in searching every single area. Its very possible the cougar could have hidden up in the trees, or even moved out of the Skokie Lagoons.
Could it be the mate of the 2 year old male from South Dakota? Could have been a sibling who traveled along as companion to the now slain one killed last Monday in Chicago?
Black & White Photo courtesy of ScottBulgerPhotography
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The Chicago Tribune today said that the young male cougar's DNA reads of "wild" South Dakota descent, and that it could have traveled over 1000 miles into Chicago where it was shot and killed by police. See the last three blog posts previously here. The cougar might have been the same one that was seen in Milton, Wisconsin, which is near the Illinois border. That cougar left blood behind, and so it will be very interesting to piece this 1000 mile journey together like a CSI investigator, should it be the same cat, which many experts say it is.
Google "chicago cougar dna" for a variety of posts on this topic
This is something an extremely knowledgeable friend of mine gave permission to post here, in response to yesterday's blog suggestions:
"When reviewing public comments and suggestions from concerned citizens on wildlife issues I always found them useful. Unfortunately for certain species such as the big cats and Grizzly bears the human population growth and expansion spells trouble. These species are wilderness species.
Research studies have indicated that a couger has a home/hunting range of about 90 square miles (about 55,000 acres). Thats per couger! Thats why this type of species needs vast areas of wilderness. The Eastern US developed first and human population expanded removing the Eastern Cougers wilderness habitat. This is why the Eastern couger is endangered where as the Western populations of cougers are not (and still hunted). The West still has vast areas of wilderness and hopefully will remain that way. But that does nothing for the plight of the Eastern Couger. Its all about habitat for a viable population rather than the welfare of a single individual.
Unfortunately, I'm afraid that the Eastern cougers wilderness habitat cannot be brought back anymore than the fast praires for the millions of buffalo that onced roamed there. There are still pockets of wilderness in the Eastern states where cougers can still survive, however, where does a growing couger population go? Urban development meets couger expansion! The couger off-spring are pushed out of a limited wilderness territory already occupied by other cougers. Pushed, unfortunately, into your back yard setting up a classic human/wildlife conflict. You can't have them in your house and the other cougers won't have them in their house either! What do you do? Make more wilderness? "
Refuge Manager (retired), US Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of National Wildlife Refuges.
I apologize for not knowing the source of these amazing cougar photos.
Here is a recycled magazine vessel I made. Its in my etsy shop here:
Its called "Mona" after the Mona Lisa (by Leonardo DaVinci).
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Well, I knew this would be the fate of this majestic animal. In the wrong place at the wrong time. For a dangerous wild animal in a land of too many people, no place is the right place at all.
The Chicago Police shot the cougar in well known in "Roscoe Village," a place of many boutiques, art galleries, and artists' lofts, in the 3400 block of N. Hoyne. This was about 18 miles from where the cougar was found this past Saturday morning, in Wilmette. After studying maps, and knowing all areas quite well, its my opinion the cougar traveled along the Metra railroad tracks.
The North Branch of the Chicago River is also nearby but I believe that if the cougar had been there along the river, with deer, and many other furry mammals to easily eat, it never would have continued south into such a high density neighborhood. Chicago is reported to have 6000 people per square mile.
The complete story is all over the Internet as well as newspapers across the country. I got these photos and quotes from:
"A 150-pound cougar was shot and killed Monday evening in the Roscoe Village neighborhood on Chicago's North Side, officials said. Chicago Police Capt. Mike Ryan said the cougar tried to attack the officers when they tried to contain it. Police said no one was hurt and they did not know the cougar's gender."
"It was turning on the officers," Ryan said, adding that no officers were hurt. "There was no way to take it into custody."
"Chicago Police Capt. Mike Ryan said the cougar tried to attack the officers when they tried to contain it." Well according to all reports, the cougar was chased by many police officers, and it leaped fences until it was trapped in an alley and was completely cornered. Not wise to stress out and corner a wild animal, right? So then it came towards the officer and in his opinion it was going to attack him. Killed it with 10 gun shots right on the spot. Who really can say?
Animal lovers on the Net are questioning why an endangered animal like this was killed and not tranquilized nor relocated. In the articles I have read, they said that Animal Control had been responding to reports since the morning in Roscoe Village, but could not find the cougar. They would have the necessary tranquilizing guns/darts to safely capture and relocate - not the Chicago Police. The Chicago Police are here to "serve and protect" but only humans not animals, no matter how beautiful, majestic, endangered, or rare they might be.
When I heard the new yesterday right around the time of the killing, I nearly broke down in tears as I was driving home from the forest preserves where I walk the dog nearly every day. I could not help it even though I tried to prepare myself for the inevitable. If the cougar stayed in the city, it would be killed, and it got into rural areas, it would still be killed.
Its time for Great Lake state Department of Natural Resources to finally accept that wild cougars are migrating into the Midwest and need to be placed upon the endangered species list. In doing this, they introduce cougars into states they were exterminated from during the 1800's. Having cougars once again residing within the Great Lakes States will also solve many of the deer related problems many DNR's are always complaining about. Paying sharp shooters like "White Buffalo" Anthony DiNicola thousands of dollars each year to come and kill deer over baited sites wastes lots of taxpayers dollars! Its extremely offensive! I advocate introducing the cougar into natural conservation areas, study them and protect them. Put GPS collars on and map them along with doing the usual necessary deer counts each DNR does yearly.
Felt Deer Brooch/Pin made by Urban Woodswalker.
for sale at: http://urbanwoodswalker.etsy.com
Monday, April 14, 2008
This is the headline on page 3 of the Chicago Tribune Metro section today. The cougar has traveled 20 miles south into Wilmette, Illinois. These sitings are only about 3 miles east of my home. According to the Chicago Tribune(author Alexa Aguilar), the cougar was reported 2 WEEKS ago, in North Chicago, so I misunderstood when I posted in this blog yesterday.
"Wilmette police said they received 4 reports Saturday morning of a cougar in the 300 block of 3rd street near the CTA station."
The "CTA" stands for "Chicago Transit System" -an elevated train that travels from Wilmette down to the Chicago and all around all over Chicago in many directions, including out to Midway and O'Hare International Airports. This is a heavily populated suburban area! The train tracks are weedy and overgrown in lots of stretches, so I can see this being used as an wildlife trail way. I will say if the cougar continues along this CTA trail, he/she will wind up in downtown Chicago!
The cougar could go west and go down into the Chicago River canal, where deer, and many other wildlife live. Unfortunately the river meanders into heavily populated areas also, and boating/canoeing season starts next month also. Traveling the River takes one down into Chicago downtown proper too. Or if it really traveled very late at night, it could wind up in the forest preserves. The best place in my opinion would be for the cougar to somehow go several miles westward and get into the Des Plaines River and the many thousands of Forest Preserve acres there. Still, many of the forest preserves in the Cook County area are only 1/2 mile to 1 mile wide, and bordered by heavily human populated areas.
The Chicago Tribune says that 2 wild cougar sitings have been "verified" before since 1862, one in 2004 in Mercer County, and in 2000 when a train killed a male cougar in Randolph County. However, since I've been conversing on the Internet about this topic, I have found that there have been many more sitings...just not verified by the authorities who as I mentioned yesterday, have not declared the cougar "exists" in Illinois. Antioch Illinois for one had several Cougar reports in the past also.
"In January, a trapper in a Wisconsin town 25 miles from the Illinois border came face to face with a big cat that fled into the woods. Officials tested the blood the animal left behind and confirmed it was a cougar," reports the Tribune.
I leave you with some scary but awesome photo submissions from www.outdooroddities.com
This is from a guy out in Mason, TX. (94 miles north of Bandera)."Mountain Lion on Rear Porch" photos were taken from his kitchen door onto his deck this last January when it snowed. The cat was watching his little kids playing on the kitchen floor. It is not a pet.
I want that cougar to live so badly. Its future seems doomed to live a free and wild life
Sunday, April 13, 2008
My very first blog. Ever. I thought today was a great day to do it because of the newspaper and TV news about cougar sitings in North Chicago, Illinois. Not too far from the third largest city in the US, a mountain lion, panther, or cougar, as Native Americans called them, was seen by several people yesterday in a highly inhabited suburban town. There were tracks in snow that have been identified by officials!
I have always loved wild animals. My name is Urban Woodswalker because I roam the 1000s of forest preserve acres near my home. White tail deer, Blue Herons, white egrets, red tail hawks, are just a few of the fauna I am lucky to see on a regular basis besides the usual gulls, squirrels, skunks, raccoons, and Gulls. Thrilling treats are to come across coyotes or beaver at work...but that seldom happens as both are usually quite shy of humans. A rare occurrence was the Peregrine Falcon that whooshed onto my balcony last month to capture and eat a bird at one of the bird feeders. WOW!
Cougars? They are migrating east ward again. I know that many states shoot and kill them when found in urban areas. The thought is that the cougar would have lost their fear of humans, and pose an extremely dangerous threat not only to pets, but to humans. Some states allow hunting cougar with a special permit. Yuck. I cannot imagine that at all - such a magnificent creature. Illinois is a state that does not have Cougars on the endangered species list because they say they don't exist here...even though there have been numerous sitings and even 2 dead ones found in the southern part of the state. If you read the links below you can learn much more about the cougar and how hums exterminated it in most of the eastern and midwestern states in the late 1800s.
I wish the cougar well. I hope it finds the rivers and forest preserves and can live a peaceful uninterrupted life there forever. Just leave it alone... :-)
Read all about the incident here:
HEAR a real live COUGAR Scream/Growl here:
The pendant shown is made from a 1999 US postage stamp, and 2 recycled aluminum pull tabs. Its called the "Cougar Pendant" and is available for sale in my shop here: