Friday, 3 October 2014

US SIGHTINGS: Is a cougar still on the prowl in Niagara?

The shooting of a cougar at a Calgary hospital last week, and the trapping of one south of Hwy. 401 this summer, gives pause to think about Niagara’s most elusive feline.

The cougar.

While DNA testing several years ago confirmed the presence of at least one cougar in south Niagara, there’s been no confirmation it’s still prowling about in the region’s wild.

Chris Davies, head of wildlife research for the Ontario Natural Resources Ministry and an adjunct professor at Trent University, says there’s a long-running joke with his colleagues about penning a book on the oft-talked about subject: “1,001 Reasons Why I Didn’t Get a Picture of the Cougar.”

That’s not to be confused with the other phantom feline that has captured most of Niagara’s attention over the past decade.

The so-called “black panther” — or some type of other exotic feline — that may have been seen in recent months.

Niagara’s big, black cat sightings were most common in areas of Fort Erie in 2000 and 2001, but big cat sightings have been reported sporadically over the past decade.

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