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Cougar sighting reported in Highland Park

Two more reports mountalions North Shore have been reported including one HighlPark though there are still no confirmations. |

Two more reports of mountain lions in the North Shore have been reported, including one in Highland Park, though there are still no confirmations. | AP file

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Updated: November 19, 2012 1:35AM

Two more reports of mountain lions in the North Shore have been reported, including one in Highland Park, though there are still no confirmations.

“What we need are pictures,” Northfield police spokeswoman Loren Boyes said .

In an era when so many people tote around cellphone cameras, not one of the seven who have seen something large and catlike has photographed what they reported seeing.

Confirmation through tracks remains a dead end, too.

On the evening of Sept. 7, a resident of the 1100 block of Lincoln Avenue in Highland Park reported seeing a large, tan, catlike animal in her back yard, but police could find no tracks or other evidence it was there.

Around 6 a.m. two days before that, a Wilmette resident walking near the Illinois Department of Transportation yards at 2 Happ Road in Northfield, reported seeing something similar in a patch of tall grass. No prints could be found there, and much of the surrounding territory is gravel and cement. The incident wasn’t reported for almost nine hours.

That was the second Northfield sighting. The first was June 6, when a big cat was reported running down Rolling Ridge Road toward Sunset Ridge Road.

The two most recent sightings were almost nine miles apart, not an enormous distance, considering a cat would have had two days to traverse it. Nine miles can’t be a huge deal for an animal suspected to have migrated from South Dakota.

Suspected sightings go back at least to April 15, when a resident atop a Glencoe bluff reported seeing a cougar on Glencoe Beach. A paid on-call firefighter reported seeing a cougar on Glencoe’s Dell Place beach July 26, and there have been two other reports from the Skokie Lagoons, west of Glencoe.

On Aug. 24, a maid reported seeing a cougar ensconced in a tree on the 200 block of Glencoe’s Lincoln Avenue.

Another was reported trotting Sept. 3 down the 1300 block of Willow Road near the Winnetka Public Works headquarters.

Glencoe police have set up motion-sensitive cameras along the beach to try to snap a photo, and sent evidence technicians to look for prints. One made a casting, but it looked more like a deer print than a mountain lion, village Animal Control Officer Katie Sweeney said.

The possibility that one or more cougars is at large on the North Shore is not so far-fetched.

Disbelief about similar sightings in Lake County in 2008 abounded until a Chicago Police officer dispelled them with a gunshot.

If you see something that looks like a cougar, make noise, flash lights or wave your arms to try to scare it off. Then call local police.

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