Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 30th, 2008
A 124-pound cougar shot by Chicago police earlier this month is the same wild animal that was spotted in southern Wisconsin in January, Cook County officials said today, April 30, 2008.
DNA taken from the cat killed April 15 in Roscoe Village matches genetic material found in Rocky County, Wisconsin, following a cougar sighting there on January 15, 2008, authorities said.
The test results also confirm that the male cat shot in Chicago was a wild, free-roaming cougar, not an escaped exotic pet, officials said.
But more tests are still being done to determine where the big cat originated. The nearest wild population of the predator to Chicago is in South Dakota, experts have said.
“These findings provide a glimpse into the life of this wild cougar and are critical pieces of a larger puzzle, which for us and other agencies is where it came from and how and why it reached an urban area,” Dr. Donna Alexander, Cook County animal control administrator, said in a statement.
The animal — whose exact age is still being determined — measured 5 feet, 4 inches long from his nose to the base of his tail, authorities said.
Chicago Police had been pursuing reports of a cougar on the loose since March 29, 2008. It was shot by police on April 15 after they cornered it near Audubon Elementary School.
The animal was shot seven times, and a necropsy showed it died of shots to the right aorta, right heart base and right ventricle, officials said.
The cat’s remains are being kept at the Field Museum of Chicago for research, officials said.
Source: “DNA shows cougar came from Wisconsin,” by Dan Rozek, Chicago Sun-Times, April 30, 2008.
Once again the blindness to the fact that wild populations of cougars might actually exist in Wisconsin and Illinois versus looking for an origin in South Dakota is revealed in this article.