Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Cougar In Town!

  There is a cougar in the area.  And no, it's not me, although it could have been me for a few hot seconds, since my husband is a few years younger! Today two schools in our area kept students inside until after lunch while the DNA searched for a big cat, according to 3 separate sightings.  And why am I not surprised?  Because I have seen a mountain lion or cougar on 2 separate occasions of my own.  
   My dog and I were walking in the gully known as Dimpledell, just below the foothills (if you can call them foothills) of Little Cottonwood Canyon.  It was dusk and we were trying to hurry before it got dark.  I was letting my dog run and she was going thru the brush and sniffing around when I turned and saw a large 4-legged animal coming out of the brush.  I knew immediately it wasn't any kind of dog.  It was watching Evee very intently.  And Evee, normally very bossy and terratorial towards animals less dominant than her wasn't doing anything but staring.  My instincts kicked in and I started yelling bloody murder for her to "get over here, NOW" and throwing rocks.  The thing retreated into the brush and Evee came.   I started walking quickly away down the path until we turned a corner.  Then I started running.  Then I called my husband, who came with a lantern and some bear repellant.  By then I was out of the gully and in the park.  
  A few months later we saw something in the same area.  This time I saw a cat slink across the path a few feet ahead of us into the brush.  Nothing else.  
  Did I call the authorities?  No.  I kind of liked the fact that there is wild life in the area and it didn't hurt us.  It was strangely beautiful and awesome to see something so wild at such a close range.  Scarey, yes.  But it was a cheap adrenaline rush.  Now, apparently, it has moved into the neighborhoods.  That's a different thing.  
  I hope they find the thing and transport it to a safer place.  I don't want it to be destroyed.  It's like any animal, trying to find something to eat in the easiest way possible.  And there are plenty of deer around to chase, that's for sure.  But possibly this cat has found that human pets are even easier prey.  Or even more chilling, the unsuspecting child.

  There are some people who are blaming the construction of homes on the benches.  This is encroachment into the territories of bears, mountain lions and other wildlife.  I agree somewhat.  Why spend millions of dollars to build a home in a neighborhood that endangers wildlife and emboldens it to come into human habitats?   But I have a feeling as to who the winner of that debate will be and it won't be the mountain lion.  
  At any rate, they haven't found anything as of yet.  So we shall see what comes of this mountain lion that I knew was here a long time ago.  

Update:  There were two more sightings in the area.  One was found in a garage.  The cat escaped, but the DNA said that if found, the animal would have to be killed because it showed aggression.   The next sighting was in a busy area with restaurants, shops and a movie theater.  It was filmed prowling through the shops and eateries.  Authorities purportedly shot it with a tranquilizor, with the intent to transport it to a safer area.  Unfortunately the animal died from the shot. 
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