Sunday, March 08, 2009

Wisc. officials call off search for cougar

Cougar Effort Called Off: DNR No Longer Tracking Cat

Posted: March 6, 2009 01:34 PM

Spooner (WQOW) - After failed attempts this week, the DNR says its effort to collar a cougar is being called off.

On Friday, the DNR told News 18 that it feels like the animal has been stressed enough this week. The agency says since the animal is already in the wild, the cat should be left alone and free to roam.

News 18 first reported on Thursday that a property owner spotted the cougar's tracks on his land on Monday. He, along with others, treed the animal on Tuesday. The DNR also treed the cougar on Wednesday and Thursday, but failed in its efforts to collar it. The agency wanted to put a radio collar around its neck before releasing it back into the wild. That way, the DNR could track where the animal goes.

"Unfortunately, the chemicals we were using did not have an adequate dosage in the darts that were available to us. We were unable to put another dart into it, and because we felt the animal could be compromised, we didn't want to put dogs back on the track," said Wildlife Biologist Ken Jonas.

The DNR says this is only the second documented cougar in Wisconsin since the early 1900s.

"There are no indications this animal is going to be aggressive at all. All the indications are that it's avoiding human habitation," said Jonas.

If you see the animal, the DNR is asking that you leave it alone and call the DNR office in Spooner at (715) 635-2101.

Since it wasn't able to get tissue samples from the cougar, the DNR says it's unsure what part of North America the animal came from.


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