A cougar has been spotted in Illinois, near the Hennepin Canal. A resident of the area was going for a walk when he saw the animal. It was still some distance away from him, but he had seen cougars back when he lived in Texas, before moving to Illinois, so he knew exactly what it was. The animal was not aggressive toward him and he was not injured.
It has long been assumed that cougars did not range as far as Illinois. While there have not been any reports of attacks to people or to farm animals at this point, sightings like this prove that they have reached the state.
The man reported what he saw to the police, who responded to the scene. The DNR also responded. Working together, the two teams looked for more evidence that there was a cougar in the area, but they did not find anything. However, this by no means indicates that the man was incorrect, so it is best for residents to assume that there is a cougar around and to keep an eye out for it.
People always need to be informed when there are dangerous predators around, even if the odds of an attack are still very low. An animal attack involving a child or an adult could be deadly, as cougars are elite predators. However, they do not often attack unless provoked or taken by surprise. People in Illinois would be wise to stay as far away from the cougar as they can if they see it, and they should report it to the authorities immediately so that appropriate action can be taken.
Source: BCRNews, “Cougar sighting” Donna Barker, Mar. 31, 2014