North Shore Cougar Sightings 2012
A timeline of possible cougar sightings that began in Glencoe and occurred as recently as Labor Day in Winnetka.
Possible North Shore cougar sightings began on the morning of April 15 on the bluff below the Hazel Ave. overlook in Glencoe. The next reported sighting occured on the evening of July 26 when a Glencoe Public Safety employee witnessed a large cat cross the street at Dell & Lakeside and walk down towards the lake. The employee described the cat as resembling a cougar.
Leval saw nothing but heard noises in Highland Park’s Sleepy Hollow Park that caused him to reverse tracks while walking his dog. “We heard a roar from the woods,” he said. “It was a sound you hear in the zoo. We walked back the other way.”
Glencoe’s Animal Control Specialist Katie Sweeney said police installed a “cougar cam” at Dell Beach, which was taken down after two weeks because it only captured photos of wildlife native to the village. Animal Control still has found no evidence to prove an animal of that magnitude was ever at the scene.
And yet, the sightings resumed in Winnetka on Labor Day when a resident informed police of a possible cougar along the 1300 block of Willow Rd. at approximately 8:30 p.m.
“Although unconfirmed, the detailed description provided of the animal has warranted additional investigation," the police announced in a statement.
The Winnetka Police Department is joining forces with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and an experienced wildlife expert to determine whether the cat may have actually set foot in the area.
In the meantime, Sweeny recommends area residents stay smart about day-to-day activities. This means keeping dogs on leashes, cats indoors and garbage in tight receptacles.
If you find yourself face-to-face with a cougar, remember not to run.
“You pretty typically want to do the same thing you’d do if confronted by a coyote,” Sweeny said. “You want to wave your arms and scare them off. You don’t want to run because that chase instinct will kick in. And if you find yourself being attacked, definitely fight back.”
Residents are encouraged to use caution and asked to report sightings of suspicious animals immediately. As a cougar’s main prey, deer carcasses should also be reported to the Glencoe Public Safety Department. Contact Glencoe Community Service Officer Katie Sweeney at (847) 835-4112 for additional information.