More Chicago Cougars

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 19th, 2008

Dan Rozek of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that more sightings of large felids are being recorded in the Chicago area:

Searchers swooped low over the Skokie Lagoons in a helicopter today to look for
signs of a cougar after several reported sightings of a big cat there —
including a sighting Tuesday, a day after a 2-year-old cougar was shot by police
in Chicago.

Two Cook County Forest Preserve District biologists and a forest preserve police
officer spent about 1 1/2 hours hovering above the sprawling forest preserve,
but saw no signs of a cougar or other large cat.

Days after Chicago Police killed a cougar (inset) on the North Side, Cook County
wildlife experts searched the Skokie Lagoons on Wednesday after receiving
reports of a cougar sighting.

Experts investigate how cougar got here Today’s Land of Lincoln is an
increasingly wild kingdom Cops gun down cougar Brown: Cougar killing proves
seeing is believing Steinberg: Looks like the cougar had to go

“It was all coyotes, deer and waterfowl — no signs of big cats,” said biologist
Chris Anchor, one of the airborne searchers.

A ground search by forest preserve workers and police also was taking place
today in the forest preserve, which sits at the northern end of Cook County near

“We¹re just being extra, double cautious because of the circumstances,” said
Anchor, referring to the Monday night discovery of a 122-pound cougar in the
city¹s Roscoe Village.

“Because of what occurred in Chicago, it behooves us to check out any sightings
that seem credible,” he added.

The most recent report of a big cat at the forest preserve came Tuesday morning,
Anchor said.

Another sighting at Erickson Woods in the southwest corner of the park — came
about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, said another Cook County official, who asked not to be


Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

4 Responses to “More Chicago Cougars”

  1. cryptidsrus responds:

    Great post, Loren!!!

    Hopefully another death may be averted here.

    IF this is true, of course.

  2. HOOSIERHUNTER responds:

    Wouldn’t looking for a cougar in a forest with a helicopter be a little like trying to find a criminal in New York with a jet plane? Did they think the cougar would just come out with it’s paws up?

    They say they searched from the ground, too, but it really doesn’t sound like they put a real coordinated effort into it to me. Cougars (and cats in general) are expert at hiding. I tried to take my housecat to the vet once and had to cancel the appointment. Three hours later she crawled out of a closet I had already searched thoroughly twice. Likely they could have walked right by the cougar and never have seen it.

  3. CamperGuy responds:

    Can only guess but think it likely the reports are only “copycat’ no pun intended.

  4. Alligator responds:

    Now that one has actually shown up it is very natural for people to start seeing them all over. Your average urban dweller is pretty poor at identifying animals in general and an alley cat spotted in poor conditions will become a lion. Then too, there will be people “reporting” on the chance they will get their name in the news.

    This is not the first one to turn up in an urban area, assuming this turns out to be wild. Check the Eastern Cougar net. Generally they wander in when its dark and quiet, then get disoriented when the city wakes up and can’t find their way back out. We had one turn up in Kansas City and it got hit on the interstate. The chances of a lion wandering into Chicago was infinitesimal, but the chances of there being a second or third lion in this area shrinks even more. Lions are loners and except for a very brief mating period, they don’t travel together and they don’t want another of their kind nearby.

    Everyone really criticizes the cops for shooting this one. You’ve watched too many nature shows where they tranquilize them. Those footages are done in optimal conditions and after all the outtakes have hit the cutting room floor. If you have ever dealt with with a wild animal like a cougar, bear or wolf up close and personal, it is not as easy to tranquilize or capture it as you might think. There was no practical way for CPD to corner or track this cat and wait for a tranquilizer even if they could get one.

    Furthermore if the lion was fully armed (assuming it was wild) it was a matter of time before hunger drove it kill pets or worse, someone’s kid. Actually, I think it would have eventually been hit by a car trying to find its way out. Yeah, capture would have been nice but odds were against this lion all the way. If it was a released captive, the owner needs to do some serious jail time.

    I saw someone lamenting that this was a shame because there are so few lions left. Maybe in Illinois, but there is no shortage of lions in North America. The population in the west is expanding and the surplus is spilling out over the plains states into the Mississippi Valley and northern Great Lakes. In the 1960s, the western states counted their lions by the hundreds. Now they count them by the thousands.
    They are coming to some woods near you…soon.

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