Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 27th, 2006
Is there an increase in Cryptid Cat activity occurring in North America this spring? If so, local officials aren’t sure how to quite handle it yet – with humor or by setting traps.
A video of a cougar or mountain lion taken in Willmar, Minnesota, lead to the capture of the animal on February 1, 2006. Most people didn’t believe the reported cat was anything more than a figment of people’s imagination before the video.
On Wednesday, April 26, 2006, the mayor of Montgomery, New Jersey, cracked a joke, saying "We are the Land of the Cougars" (alluding to the local high school sports mascot), after sightings of just such a phantom panther locally.
The Asbury Park Press, in an article entitled "Mountain lion in Montgomery?" noted:
A homeowner reported to police spotting the animal on Harvard Circle at about 8 p.m. Monday. The resident described the animal as tan and 60 to 80 pounds. Police found no evidence of the mountain lion at the scene but contacted the township’s health officer, conservation officers of the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, and neighboring municipalities.
Last summer local residents saw an animal larger than a house cat with a "very long tail." Division of Fish and Wildlife crews used tracking devices in Montgomery but found nothing.
Recently, animals seem to be more aggressive, or at least there are more reports of them in the media. A cougar attacked a boy near Boulder, Colorado, on April 15th, and the cat was then killed on the 16th. People are jumpy about animal attacks this spring after a girl was killed by a bear in Tennessee on April 13th, and a hunter was mauled in Washington State on April 22, 2006, outside the Olympia National Park.
Reports of eastern North American cryptid cats may be getting more attention because of all of this.
On April 13th, residents of Lesley Park in Ottawa, Ontario, reported a second sighting of what looked like a large brown cat, a cougar in a ravine, an unusual occurrence in those part.
Meanwhile, in Michigan, after sightings on April 15th and 16th in Sumpter Township, local government officers set a trap for what one witness believed was a cougar that was spotted twice in the western Wayne County. The animal first was seen by a woman on Oakville-Waltz Road on Saturday in her backyard, and then miles away on Sunday by another witness near Rawsonville and Willow roads. Nothing’s been caught yet.
You may be reading more about other Mystery Puma encounters in the coming weeks, if these are an early indication. Mountain lions are not supposed to exist in eastern North America, having gone extinct from all of their former range (but Florida), so they naturally become part of cryptozoology when reported anew.