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. 


Diane said...

My county refuses to admit we have coyotes in the area but about 20 or so people a month spot them. They keep saying we must be mistaken, and that it is just a stray dog.

The local dog wardens are reporting an increase in the amount of missing small dogs and cats. Its such a terrible thought! Many rescue groups, and shelters in our area keep posting on their social media pages to stay outside with your dogs, even if you have a fenced in yard, and to keep your cats indoors because of all the sightings.

The think it was such a harsh winter that the coyotes are leaving their normal territory and moving into our area in search of food.

Angela Christopher said...

Our family is used to living in the country and seeing/hearing the wildlife. We moved to the city a few years ago and it is really sad. There will be construction for new apartments, stores or homes and then you will start seeing coyotes wandering around, scared.

Clara - A Slice of Homeschool Pie said...

I bet this made for an exciting day for the kids. Glad no one was hurt. I can't imagine walking and seeing one of these in my path. :-)

lisa said...

I love animals and I certainly wouldn't of wanted it to be destroyed either. Although I would have been quite scared. In my neck of the words the only thing I have ever come face to face with are deer, skunk and one time I was chased by an emu-like bird. My fault I was trying to see the babies.

Ashley C said...

That is a bit scary that there is a cougar in your area. Probably best if the schools did keep the children inside for a while. That is a bit nerve wracking that the cougar is moving into the neighborhoods. Although, I can relate. I live in a more country setting and I know there has been a mountain lion/cougar of some sort at my house because I saw the footprints on our porch when we had a snowstorm a few months back. Plus, this area unfortunately released some on purpose to help with the deer population and the coyote issue. And I know I have a wolf that lives near by. It had a stare down with me two summers ago with me in my backyard and it in my neighbor's camp/house next door.

Here's to hoping that you don't run into the mountain lion/cougar ever again. But if you do, I hope it's at a safe distance!

A GAL NEEDS... said...

Ashley, wow, sounds as if it is commonplace for you to have visitors from the backwoods. My biggest fear used to be running into a mountain lion at close range. Now that I have, I'm not as paranoid as I once was. But I've heard those wolves can be pretty bold!

Lisa, ha ha, that would be me too, being all curious and getting chased!

Clara, The teachers were probably annoyed that it was an inside day, but better safe than sorry!

Angela and Diane, Yes, it's a tough problem when civilization and wildlife collide. But the local government should at least acknowledge it so that solutions can be forthcoming. Thank goodness for groups that are alerting the pet owners to keep watch on their pets.

Ruth said...

We have had cougars and bears in the area, but coyotes are the major concern. I remember the first time I saw one as it crossed the street. It was so ugly. Hope the cougar is removed--or has been.

A GAL NEEDS... said...

Well, I haven't heard any more about it so I'm not sure if they couldn't find it or what...