Cougars moving eastward, researcher says

May 22, 2008 at 5:31 PM
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., May 22 (UPI) -- Cougar sightings could become more common in U.S. urban areas as mountain lions rebound and expand their living space, a researcher said Thursday.

Cougars have been migrating eastward for years from the Black Hills and Western states, bumping up the likelihood of more roaming urban neighborhoods such as Chicago's north side, where police shot and killed a cougar in April, said Lorraine Corriveau of the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine in West Lafayette, Ind.

Wildlife authorities track cougar migration so they can alert people in the areas, Corriveau said. She said people seeing a cougar, also called a puma or mountain lion, should contact state wildlife agencies because gauging the size of the cats helps authorities, she said.

Corriveau, a pet wellness clinician, said authorities receive hundreds of reports of cougar sightings and attacks on animals annually. While there have only been 13 confirmed cougar attacks in California since 1890, nine of those attacks have occurred since 1992. Attacks also have been reported in recent years in Michigan, she said.

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