Bear Sighting

DNR says cougar is kitty or dog

May 17, 2012 // 0 Comments

Greenville bear is legit by BETH ALTENA “There are lots of things in this world to be worried about, being attacked by a cougar is not one of them. You are much more likely to have a problem with a neighbor’s dog.” The statement was from DNR Wildlife Specialist John Niewoonder of the Plainwell office regarding a string of four recent cougar sightings in Rockford. The latest sighting was called in by a local real estate agent who was showing a home off the Rogue River last week and saw a cat she estimated at 150 pounds walking along the riverbank near the new Rockford nature trail. The same person also talked recently with another Rockford resident who spotted a big cat near Lake Bella Vista a week ago and heard of another person who reported a sighting near Young Avenue and Bush Street east of Rockford. All sightings may be related to a Squire article which showed a print of an alleged cougar in Blythefield at the Rogue River, found in the morning after one of this winter’s infrequent snowfalls. According to Niewoonder, biologists with the natural resources in western states, where the cats are known to frequent, examined the picture of the print posted on the Squire’s website and determined it was a dog. According to his experts, mountain lion prints will never show a claw mark. “Their claws are retracted into the paw while walking, so prints usually turn out to belong to dogs. Cougars have very distinctive prints.” He said he expected cougar sightings to follow. “I don’t know if it is a social thing or a cultural thing, but once you start talking about a cougar sighting, you get all kinds of sightings. I don’t know if it is just how people’s minds work or a phenomenon.” Michigan has had confirmed mountain lions, Niewoonder stated, but those were in the Upper Penninsula. He also admitted that lions are known as a traveling animal that can go hundreds of miles, so it is possible a mountain lion passed this area. If it did, he said, no one would be likely to see it. “We had one captured in the western states—North Dakota or one of those—and was captured again in an […]