A Highland Park resident reported seeing what may have been a cougar on Sunday, Nov. 25 walking along the west tree line in Old Elm Park, according to a statment from the city.
Earlier: North Shore Cougar Sightings 2012
The large, tan, feline-type animal was spotted in the park, which is located in the Highlands north of Half Day Road. The city is advising residents to be alert, especially when outside with children and small pets.
Highland Park police immediately investigated the incident, which was reported on Wednesday, Nov. 28, but did not find any tracks or other evidence confirming the identification of the animal, according to the city.
Similar cougar-like sightings have also been reported in the Glencoe and Winnetka in addition to Highland Park in April, July, August and September.
"The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) advises that there are no sustained populations of cougars in Illinois; however, young cougars have been known to pass through the Midwest from their original region in the Black Hills of South Dakota," according to the statement from the city.
Cougars avoid populated areas and looking for deer to eat. You can deter cougars with bright, flashing white lights and loud noise.
Highland Park advises residents to stay aware while outside and use caution if an animal fitting the description is observed. Keep an eye on small children and pets especially.
The city asks residents to report any sightings of suspicious animals to the Highland Park Police Department at (847) 432-7730. In the case of an emergency, please dial 911.