Delaware cougar|graham_inglis||02/10/04 at 18:24:24|graham_inglis|xx|0||
Big cat not likely a cougar
4 Feb 2004

A big feline spotted Friday near Cedar Lane Elementary School north of Middletown probably was not a cougar, state Division of Fish & Wildlife officials said Tuesday. Photos of the creature and a paw print lack clear details, although the 2-inch print appeared "considerably smaller than the typical 4-inch pad of a cougar," said Rob Hossler, a regional biologist with the agency. "We think it was probably a domestic cat," he said.

At least two cougar sightings have been confirmed in the northern part of the state, but efforts to hunt or trap the creatures have failed. Last year the state received 17 reports of cougar spottings. Capt. Robert Hutchins, a Division of Fish & Wildlife enforcement officer, said the threat of cougar attacks in the Delaware area is low. Agency officials nevertheless advised against approaching a cougar, and said people should avoid walking alone near wooded areas just after sunrise or just before sunset, when cougars like to feed.

To report a cougar sighting, call Division of Fish & Wildlife enforcement agents at (302)-739-4580 or (800) 523-3336. Agents have been keeping records on cougar sightings in Delaware since 1999.||