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Two more cougar sightings on North Shore

Updated: September 18, 2012 5:56PM



Two more North Shore residents have reported seeing mountain lions in the last week or so, in Highland Park and Northfield.

Still no confirmations, however.

“What we need are pictures,” Northfield Police spokeswoman Loren Boyes said Tuesday.

In an era when so many people tote around telephone cameras wherever they go, not one of the seven people who have seen something large and cattish has photographed what they reported seeing.

Confirmation through tracks remains a dead end, too. Friday evening, a resident of the 1100 block of Highland Park’s Lincoln Avenue reported seeing a large, tan, catlike animal in her backyard, but police could find no tracks or other evidence that it was there.

Around 6 a.m. two days before that, a Wilmette resident walking near the Illinois Department of Transportation yards at 2 Happ Road, Northfield, reported seeing something similar in a patch of tall grass. No prints could be found there, and much of the surrounding territory is gravel and cement. The incident wasn’t reported for almost nine hours.

That was the second Northfield sighting. The first was June 6, when a big cat was reported running down Rolling Ridge Road toward Sunset Ridge Road.

The two most recent sightings were almost nine miles apart, which is not an enormous distance, considering a cat would have had two days to traverse it. Nine miles can’t be a huge deal for an animal suspected to have migrated from South Dakota.

Suspected sightings go back at least to April 15, when a resident atop a Glencoe bluff reported seeing a cougar on Glencoe Beach. A paid-on-call firefighter reported seeing a cougar on Glencoe’s Dell Place beach July 26, and there have been two other reports from the Skokie Lagoons, west of Glencoe.

Aug. 24, a maid reported seeing a cougar ensconced in a tree on the 200 block of Glencoe’s Lincoln Avenue.

Another was reported trotting Sept. 3 down the 1300 block of Willow Road near the Winnetka Public Works headquarters.

Glencoe Police have set up motion-sensitive cameras along the beach to try to snap a photo, and sent evidence technicians to look for prints. One made a casting, but it looked more like a deer print than evidence of a mountain lion’s passing, village Animal Control Officer Katie Sweeney said.

The possibility that one or more cougars is at large on the North Shore is not so far-fetched. Disbelief about similar sightings in 2008 abounded until a Chicago Police officer dispelled them with a gunshot.

If you see something that looks like a cougar, make noise, flash lights or wave your arms to try to scare it off. Then call Sweeney, at (847) 835-4112, or any local police department.

Also, it would be nice if you could take a picture.



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