As we move our way through another new year, the elusive cougar crawls its way through the province of Ontario, and the number of sightings continues to rise.
With few resources at our disposal and a wildlife agency whom all but refuses to admit the existence of big cats in this province, what are we to do with all this cougar data?
A quick glance at the Ontario Puma Foundation’s map entitled; Puma Sightings in Ontario, paints a clear picture that cougars/pumas have, at time, been spotted in almost every corner of the province!
To give you an idea of the magnitude, here are the cougar sighting reports I have personally received in the last 4 weeks alone:
I was driving back to Ottawa from the cottage on Hwy 12 near Perth after the first winter storm of 2015 & big snowfall, a large all black cat that was thick and muscular darted across the road. Never seen anything like it in 40 years.
A few weeks back in the middle of December along the Thames River just East of London we were almost at my daughters house that backs along the banks of the Thames River .. This large animal came up from the river , went across the road into a field . I have never seen anything like it before and I’ve lived here for many years. It reminded me of our large yellow lab but a whole lot bigger and ran lean and long ..I said to my daughter, that’s a Cougar! Then I come to find out that just west of us along the river area of the golf course there were some officers checking out a shredded deer carcass and paw prints . There was someone else or others that seen the same cougar and the police were checking it out. I’ve searched for anything online that I can find but nothing pops up about the recent London sighting ? I called the MNR but never received a call back .. There are plenty of deer in our area that could support a cougar but I also hear they do not stay put for long?
A friend of mine got 3 pictures on his trail cam of a cougar, I will get those pictures and post them, the cougar was near his backyard, he lives just outside Brentwood which is located just NW of Angus and close to the Minnising swamp. The pics are quite clear, in color and in the daytime.
Spotted what I am sure was a cougar in Mallorytown Ontario this past June 2014. I couldn’t believe it. It was probably a bit smaller than my 100pound dog, was dark coloured, and had a long tail, and was creeping away from our back compost pile at dawn. We have a lot of coyotes here, so I first thought it was a coyote. But the tail/face/ears/movement were not coyote. Tried to get back inside to grab the camera, but the cat had moved back into the wooded area that borders our property. No sign since.
Bought a camp on L. Superior on Whitefish Bay about 4 yrs ago. Came from the interior of B.C. (near Kamloops) and have lived in Alta and B.C. most of my life. Had 2 camps in the wilderness of B.C. where I hunted and fished – seeing cougars on occasion so I know what they are vs Lynx etc. 2 yrs ago a cougar ripped across the front of our L. Superior camp running close to the water. Love the way these guys use that long tail to balance themselves on the run.
Two sightings in the Glanbrook area of southern Ontario. The most recent was this week which has me researching but I will start with the first in early spring 1987. We bought the house 2 months earlier. Having breakfast one morning, I saw a very large black cat straight back behind our property which opens to a field and woods to the immediate right. My husband and I watched it trying to figure out what it was -tall, black with a long drooping tail near to the ground and tipping upwards. Nothing like a dog. It moved like a cat and was much larger than a dog. We were sure it was a wild black cat of some sort and called a local private zoo to see if they lost a cat – puma, jaguar or whatever. They said no but asked where we live (?) A few hours later we went out to the woods and as the ground was soft from recent melting we looked for tracks and found them. I took photographs and placed my hand in the paw print bending my fingers inwards at the middle knuckles was the size of the print. There were no claw marks as there would be if it was a black coyote and way too big. We then thought it wise to get out of there as it could be in the trees. A few weeks later we met our neighbours for the first time who told us about an odd sighting of a row of about 10 people, dressed in white going across the field looking downwards. The very next day after we saw the cat!
Some 20 years later i was talking to colleagues about it when one of them said hey…when was that? I answered that it was years ago….she said she lived with her parents about 2km from us in Haldimand and in the spring of 1987 they saw a large black cat! We assume it escaped from somewhere.
Fast forward to this week. My son is down for the holidays and just before noon on Dec 23 he saw a very large beige cat come down the side of our property along the treeline, hugging the ground. We had a large blonde lab and he estimated it about that size but hard to tell as it slunk so low. He said it was beige, black around the ears, not a house cat type of face, long tail that had blackish rings starting about half way up. It came all the way up…disappeared at the back of the pool and he doesn’t know where it went. He said it was muscular, very short hair. Unfortunately he didn’t get a picture. So looking online I thought for sure it must be a bobcat. He says no way – doesn’t match at all – not the face and the tail was way longer and thinner..not furry. I found that young cougars have stripped black tails. I convinced myself last night it was a bobcat until my son got up today and said no way…not what he saw…no matter how many images i showed him of ages and species that could be in our area. No idea what he saw but I would love to know! (btw..our lab was 80-90 pounds in terms of my son’s estimation of size) (My son has perfect eye sight at 22 yrs old lol and the cat was seen from 200 feet walking towards him/the house – so he got a good look)