08/29/2019- This is not your everyday stray cat. The Wisconsin DNR has confirmed a cougar was spotted moving through the City of Marinette last week. A resident captured a photo of the cat in the early morning hours near the intersection of Hall and Van Cleve Avenues. Caroline Ward with the DNR says while it’s not typical, a case like this isn’t unheard of.
“Actually, you’d be surprised at how many critters of large size move through urban areas. For example, where mountain lions are more prevalent in states like California, they adjust their home ranges and use wooded corridors, back yards, things like that, without people knowing very frequently. So, it’s not an uncommon occurrence for animals to move through our urban areas without us knowing.”
If you happen to cross paths with a mountain lion, Ward says don’t run, but instead, stand tall, wave your arms, and throw stones or other objects at the animal and yell. Like most wild animals, a cougar will defend itself if it feels threatened or cornered, but Ward stresses that this sighting alone doesn’t signify any inherent risk to residents.
“You just have to practice common sense wildlife avoidance measures. Don’t leave food out for your critters. Be more aware during dawn and dusk, for example, if people are letting their pets out, just take a look around the back yard. Most of the time, these animals don’t want to be seen and they don’t want to have an interaction with us…Most likely, this cat is going to move through the area, get near the city and realize it’s too loud, and head back to wherever it came from.”
This is the fourth confirmed mountain lion sighting in Wisconsin this year and the third in Marinette County since 2014. Biologists believe these are young males dispersing from a breeding population in South Dakota.