Experts believe evidence of a possible mountain lion roaming in…
Updated: Wednesday, 04 Nov 2009, 6:15 PM EST
Published : Monday, 02 Nov 2009, 6:34 PM EST
IDAVILLE, Ind. (WLFI) - In September, residents in the Idaville area said they had seen a cougar wandering around, but no evidence of the animal could be found. However, there is now evidence that a cougar is indeed on the loose in White County.
Great Cats of Indiana Executive Director Rob Craig said that though the cat did not escape from his facility, he had been contacted by the Sheriff's Department. Craig said the department has requested aid from Great Cats in tracking the cougar down.
Craig said that cougar paw prints were found near cornfields,
and from these he believes the cougar is male and weighs between 60
to 80 pounds.
Craig said there is no reason to panic.
"He's not dangerous right now," explained Craig. "The only time he would be dangerous would be if he was cornered or if he was inside a building and was trapped and felt like there was no escape. If someone just sees him running across a field or out by a fence row or something like that, nobody is at risk."
Craig said that cougars could easily survive in Indiana.
"At one point, they lived here natively, but were run out hundreds of years ago," said Craig. "It would not be uncommon to have one running around. It could easily survive with the wild game that is here and the deer population like it is."
The Department of Natural Resources cannot confirm that there is a cougar on the loose.
In a statement released by the DNR, First Sergeant Dan Dulin said at this point, the cat has not been seen by a conservation officer so the DNR cannot confirm the presence of a large cat in the area. Dulin's statement said that in most cases exotic animals found in the wild are a result of a cute, young animal, being raised in a home that quickly outgrows it welcome. To read the full DNR statement, click here (PDF).
Should you come across a cougar in the wild, Craig said the safest thing to do is to make yourself seem as big as possible.
Craig also advised those encountering a cougar to make noises to scare the animal. He suggested clapping hands and yelling. He said to then slowly back away, but to avoid turning and running. Craig said running will make you appear to be prey to the cougar.
Craig said Great Cats of Indiana hopes to use a tranquilizer to catch the cougar. Craig said if they catch the animal, the cat will live with other cougars and large cats at Great Cats.