Police in Winnetka are advising residents of an unconfirmed cougar sighting on Labor Day. It is at least the third such sighting on the North Shore this year.
About 8:30 p.m. on Monday, the Winnetka Police Department received a report of a sighting of an animal, possibly a cougar, along the 1300 block of Willow Road, near the Village Public Works Facility, a release from police said.
The Winnetka Police Department has consulted with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Police have also called on the service of a wildlife expert in order to investigate and determine what type of animal may have been seen.
The two previous possible cougar sightings this year have been in nearby Glencoe. Both sightings were of a large cat-type animal resembling a cougar near the Lake Michigan shoreline, according to the village of Glencoe.
The first sighting occurred on the morning of April 15 on the bluff below the Hazel Avenue overlook, a release from the village said. A resident observed a large cat which had been lying down, but rose to its feet and disappeared into the heavy brush.
The second sighting occurred on the evening of July 26, when a Glencoe Public Safety employee witnessed a large cat cross the street at Dell and Lakeside and walk toward the lake. The employee described the cat as resembling a cougar.
When Glencoe officials discussed the sightings with the Cook County Forest Preserve District, they were informed that the Forest Preserve District had received two unconfirmed cougar sightings in the Skokie Lagoon area earlier in July. At the time, Glencoe reported that a wildlife biologist from the IDNR informed the village that they have had no confirmed sightings in the area.
Deterrents for these animals include dogs, bright lights, music, and flashing white lights. Police want residents to be aware of these sightings and to call 911 immediately if they think they see a cougar in the area.