Authorities want pictures, and until they get visual confirmation, they do not consider these sightings legitimate evidence that these animals are here. Despite the 150-pound male cougar that was shot and killed in Chicago in 2008,1 still, experts do not believe that Cougars are living and prowling in Illinois. The fact remains, however – when young males get old enough, their mothers chase them away, and they set out in search of a new home. That is why the South Dakota cougars’ blood lines showed up in the young cougar that was shot in Chicago in 2008. Just think of all the cougars that may have come here before and since. Nature is taking its course.
None of the sightings mentioned above is been confirmed.
Winnetka’s police alert said the Department of Natural Resources said there are no sustained populations of cougars in Illinois, but that they have been known to move through the Midwest along Lake Michigan from their original range in South Dakota.
The presence of a cougar prowling the lakefront communities is “absolutely possible,” said Robert Erickson, the DeKalb wildlife specialist hired by Winnetka to track the animal, also known as a mountain lion.
If you meet a cougar, try to make yourself look very large – and do not turn your back on it. Wave branches, sticks, whatever you can -convince them you are a threat- act confidently, and back away facing it. If it attacks, fight back with everything you’ve got.
- In 2008, scientists verified through DNA tests that a male cougar shot in Chicago was related to animals from the Black Hills of South Dakota, raising the possibility that it journeyed 1,000 miles. Before showing up in Chicago, the same cougar had been spotted a few months earlier in a barn in southern Wisconsin, where it left a bit of blood that was tested and matched. [↩]