Thursday, January 06, 2011

Hoosier cougars are spotted in the Indiana hills

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources office at Prophetstown State Park, near Battle Ground, Ind., has been adding to its database of cougar sightings, reports Bob Scott for the Journal and Courier. One hundred seventeen sightings have been reported since the database began last year. Only one of those cats was photographed, last May near rural Bloomfield in southern Indiana. (Photo above,  Indiana Department of Natural Resources)

 Rick Peercy, a DNR wildlife biologist, said the cougars are probably former pets who escaped or were intentionally released. Citizens can own cougars, a protected species in Indiana, if they get the proper permits. "A big cat is a lot of work. There is a big veterinary bill," he said. Scott Johnson, a DNR nongame mammal biologist, said to Scott, "There certainly is evidence that the (mountain) lions are expanding their range from the western areas into the Plains. ... They are young males that can travel a great distance." (Read more)

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