Possible cougar seen in Highland Park
Updated: May 16, 2013 4:47PM
HIGHLAND PARK — The City of Highland Park is alerting residents to a possible cougar sighting on Sunday, Nov. 25 in Old Elm Park, located in the Highlands north of Half Day Road.
A resident reported seeing a large, tan, feline-type animal similar in stature to a cougar walking on the west tree line in the park. Highland Park residents are advised to be alert, especially when outside with children and small pets.
Highland Park police personnel immediately investigated the incident after receiving the report Wednesday, Nov. 28, but did not locate any tracks of other evidence confirming the identification of the animal.
In September, a resident of the 1100 block of Lincoln Avenue South, about two blocks west from Lake Michigan, also reported seeing a possible cougar.
Similar cougar-like sightings were reported in the Village of Glencoe and the Village of Winnetka between April and September but remain unconfirmed at this time.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) advises that there are no sustained populations of cougars in Illinois; however, young cougars have been known to pass through the Midwest from their original region in the Black Hills of South Dakota. These animals generally avoid populated areas and may be seeking deer as their primary food source.
Deterrents to these animals include bright, flashing white lights, and loud noise. Residents are encouraged to exercise awareness while outdoors and use caution if an animal fitting the description is observed. Small children and pets should always be supervised when outdoors. Residents are asked to immediately report any sightings of suspicious animals to the Highland Park Police Department at (847) 432-7730. In the case of an emergency, please dial 911.