IDAVILLE, Ind. (WLFI) - The Department of Natural Resources is investigating the possibility of a big cat in the wild near Idaville in White County.
D.N.R. Wildlife Biologist Dean Zimmerman went to the area where people have reportedly seen the animal.
He said he observed tracks and droppings, but is not sure if they belong to a mountain lion or a different big cat.
"When it comes to wildlife there aren't a lot of absolutes a lot of times, and large cats are not supposed to show their claw marks in their tracks. I would say about a third of the tracks that we saw were absent of claw marks, but about two-thirds of the tracks that we saw with the appropriate size and the appropriate shape and so forth did show one or two claw marks.
There was a scat there that we picked-up. It didn't look like coyote. It is possible it could be dog, but it's also possible it could be from a large cat. The books say that large cats cover up their feces just like a housecat will. There didn't seem to be an attempt to cover this up," Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said he plans to have the droppings examined.
He said there is a 60 to 80 percent chance the animal could be a big cat.
Zimmerman talked with Rob Craig from Great Cats of Indiana, who had already observed some large animal tracks in the Idaville area.
Zimmerman said, "Mr. Craig suspects that this is a male, because it was attracted to his facility. He has a female cougar in heat on-site. And I suspect that this is probably somewhere around a 75 to 90 pound animal, something like that, it's not as large as a mountain lion can get."
Zimmerman said if the animal is indeed a mountain lion, it could have been released or escaped from somewhere.
He said the Indiana Department of Natural Resources has never released any mountain lions into the wild.
The D.N.R. took photos of the tracks and droppings found in White County, but will not release the photos until they can confirm the tracks and droppings belong to a cougar.
Zimmerman wants to remind people in the area to be calm and use good judgment about the possibility of spotting a large cat.
He said if it is indeed a mountain lion, it is a protected species in Indiana.
Zimmerman said it is illegal to trap or kill such an animal, unless it is posing a legitimate threat to a landowner's property, people, pets, or livestock.
Zimmerman said he would like to hear from anyone who has seen this animal near Idaville in White County.
He said they can call him at his district office at 765-567-2152.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) proposed a pre-K voucher program as part of his 2014 agenda. The program would give underprivileged children access to pre-K programs.
Several generations gathered Saturday to remember a day that will live in infamy. The day marked 72 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Almost Home is holding an open house with special adoption deals.