Monday, April 14, 2008
"Wilmette put on Cougar alert"
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