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Cougar sighting

Animal seen near Hennepin Canal

Published: Monday, March 31, 2014 4:58 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014 5:03 p.m. CDT

BUREAU — Another cougar has been apparently spotted in Bureau County.

On Monday, Bureau County Sheriff John Thompson confirmed his department received a call last week, on Wednesday, from a 51-year-old man who was walking along the Hennepin Canal towpath, about one and one-half miles west of Lock 3 near Bureau, when he spotted a cougar. The man was a mature man who said he had seen cougars before when he lived in Texas and had no doubt in his mind that the animal he saw Wednesday was a cougar, the sheriff said.

The sheriff’s department then contacted the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to further the investigation, but no signs of a cougar were found at that time.

Last September, some Sheffield residents said they had also seen a cougar in their area of the county, on the southwest edge of town.

As far as this latest cougar sighting near Bureau, Thompson said his department has had no reports of domesticated animals or family pets being harmed by a wild animal. If dogs or cats were being taken from their yards or cattle or sheep from a field, then the wild animal would be considered a threat to society, and more action would be required, he said.

This latest sighting appears to be an isolated incident, Thompson said.

For years it was believed no cougars were in Illinois, but that no longer appears to be the case, Thompson said.

Residents can certainly call the sheriff’s department or the IDNR if they think they have spotted a cougar in their area, Thompson said. In some cases, primarily in the western states, cougars have been known to attack people for food or if the animal feels it is in danger.

As reported earlier in the Bureau County Republican, the IDNR has stated cougars are normally very reclusive and normally do not pose a threat to people.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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