No further sightings of mystery cat|Richard_Ffirstname.lastname@example.org|05/07/06 at 13:40:51|richard_f|xx|0|188.8.131.52|No further sightings of mystery cat
Asbury Park Press
COLTS NECK - State wildlife authorities said there have been no additional reports or sightings of a mystery cat or unusual animals since Monday, when a township resident reported seeing a mountain lion or large cat on Dutch Lane, near the Marlboro border.
"At this point we have absolutely nothing to confirm the original report,'' Darlene Yuhas, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said today.
The township K-8 school district, which had kept its students inside during physical-education classes and recesses Tuesday due to "heightened anxiety,'' has resumed normal procedures and allowed students outside, said Superintendent Richard Fitzpatrick.
State: Cougar's presence unlikely
Can't confirm Monday sighting
Asbury Park Press
COLTS NECK - State wildlife authorities said Friday that they have uncovered no evidence that a mountain lion or other large cat has visited the area.
A township resident reported seeing a mountain lion or large cat on Dutch Lane near the Marlboro boundary Monday. But Darlene Yuhas, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said, "At this point we have absolutely nothing to confirm the original report."
The original report led to aerial and patrol searches by authorities Monday, and the township K-8 school district kept its students indoors during physical education classes and recesses Tuesday due to "heightened anxiety," Superintendent Richard Fitzpatrick said.
A large paw print that was photographed by Fish and Wildlife workers wasn't clear enough to provide information, Yuhas said. Department workers also analyzed a sample of animal scat.
"We weren't able to determine what animal left that track," Yuhas said. "The droppings are apparently from a dog."
Fitzpatrick said normal outdoor procedures at the district's three schools resumed Wednesday.
"We restricted outdoor access that one day because there seemed to be heightened anxiety. But they did an aerial search and foot search. The authorities were comfortable that it was just that one sighting," Fitzpatrick said.
"The police did also suggest that animals of that nature tend to not go where people are present and instead retreat to less active areas. But our teachers remain aware," Fitzpatrick said.
On Tuesday, Fitzpatrick sent a notice to parents saying there would be "increased supervision" that day at the bus arrival and departure areas at the Conover Road Elementary and Primary schools. The district also has a middle school on Cedar Drive.
Police Detective Sgt. Joseph Whitehead said officers have not sighted a mountain lion or other animal of that type.
While it has one of the largest ranges of any big cat, the mountain lion (Puma concolor), also known as the cougar or puma, is rarely found in the Northeast.
The majority of the 30,000 mountain lions believed to live in the United States are found west of the Mississippi River. The sole remaining subspecies of mountain lion still living east of the Mississippi is the critically endangered Florida panther.