After multiple unconfirmed sightings of a potential cougar in the north shore, Glencoe Public Safety’s attempts at catching the cat on film remain unsuccessful.
Glencoe’s Animal Control Specialist Katie Sweeney said police installed a “cougar cam” at Dell Beach, only to be taken down after two weeks because it only captured photos of wildlife native to the village. And while there was another possible sighting of the cat on Saturday, there was no evidence to prove an animal of that magnitude was ever at the scene.
“We actually had a report of a sighting this past Saturday, but our officers responded, checked out the area and there were no footprints,” Sweeny said. “The sighting was reported to be a cougar-sized animal in a tree. What would really substantiate these sightings would be large scratch marks on the tree, and there was nothing.”
Sweeny says, while she believes the residents spotted something in the tree, she doesn’t believe it was a cougar. It could have very well been a large raccoon in her opinion.
"You don’t want to run because that chase instinct will kick in. And if you find yourself being attacked, definitely fight back.”
However, that doesn’t mean a cougar never passed through the Glencoe area. Sweeny says there’s certainly a possibility the cat could have passed through town, but the chances it they took up residency in the area are slim.
“It’s very probable that we had one pass through town, but to have it stay here? They typically go where there’s no human population,” Sweeny said.
Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota have all had cougar sightings recently as the overpopulated animal migrates from South Dakota. Sweeny said a cougar passed through the north shore communities in 2008 and was eventually shot in Chicago.
So in the meantime, Sweeny recommends area residents still stay smart about day-to-day activities. This means keeping dogs on leashes, cats indoors and garbage in tight receptacles.
And if you find yourself face-to-face with a cougar, remember not to run.
“You pretty typically want to do the same thing you’d do if confronted by a coyote,” Sweeny said. “You want to wave your arms and scare them off. You don’t want to run because that chase instinct will kick in. And if you find yourself being attacked, definitely fight back.”
Residents are encouraged to use caution and asked to report sightings of suspicious animals immediately. As a cougar’s main prey, deer carcasses should also be reported to the Glencoe Public Safety Department. Contact Glencoe Community Service Officer Katie Sweeney at (847) 835-4112 for additional information.