Another summer is upon us and the Ontario cougar sightings continue to pour-in.
As many of you know, I’ve always taken a special interest in Ontario cougars a fascination if you will, which is odd since I’m really not a huge (domestic) cat lover.
The intrigue with these big cats I suppose might have to do with the rarity of the occurrence, although more cougars are being spotted across the province than ever before, so that can’t be it. Heck, we even saw a local horse owner last winter who had a brush with a cougar when one attacked one of her animals.
Yes, cougars in Ontario are contentious issue regardless of where you stand and of interest to many. People see them regularly in different regions yet our wildlife agencies tend to discount any and all reported sightings. Out of fear? Lack of funding? Whatever the case, the MNRF has typically shied away from the Ontario cougar issue even though I receive a handful of cougars reports each and every month.
The letter I got today may change all that!
I received a cougar sighting report earlier this am from the Peterborough-area, which isn’t that strange as several big cats have been spotted in the Kawartha’s in recent years.
This sighting was special indeed and almost ground-breaking I would say…as the eye-witness report came to me from a Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) employee!
Alex Broks, a Land and Resources Data Support Officer with the Mapping & Information Resources Branch of the MNRF in Peterborough, was driving on Mervin Road south of Hwy 115 yesterday at approximately 4:00 PM, when noticed a doe and a fawn cross the road 40 yards away.
Following on their footsteps at a close distance was a large cat with a long tail, it was unmistakably a cougar but not an adult in Broks’s estimation – a man who is an avid sportsman with 35 years’ experience.
“I do know that there has been other sighting in the past few years in the Peterborough- area” Broks explained, but the MNRF always seems to contradict the sightings; too far, to foggy, maybe a slim coyote, no one else has reported anything and so on.”
This MNRF employee and former Taxidermist went online shortly after the sighting to see if any other cougars have been reported in the Peterborough area. Alex quickly discovered one of my articles on the subject and contacted me and here we are…
This first-hand cougar sighting is important, not only to further the documented evidence of big cats in the Province, but for an MNRF employee to come forward with an eye-witness account lends great credibility to the existence of these big cats in Ontario.
A tip of the hat to Alex Broks for allowing me to share this crucial information with us, without fear of reprisal. Alex told me he plans to speak with the only home-owner along that stretch of road to see if they too have seen any cougar activity in the area.
P.S. For more information on Cougars in Ontario, the Province’s authority on big cats Rick Rosatte has published several papers on the subject: http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CB0QFjAAahUKEwiQ4snx0KHHAhWXEpIKHVJnDDA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcanadianfieldnaturalist.ca%2Findex.php%2Fcfn%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F11942F1187&ei=OTvKVdDhH5elyATSzrGAAw&usg=AFQjCNFgjoCbDQ63RjepRoROXo1xXk4fqg&sig2=1uDoN8zDxms6zMkta_Jqng