Herald Staff Report
MORRISON, Ill. — A cougar was found this week on a farm near Morrison. Wildlife biologists are examining the remains of the cougar in an effort to learn more about the animal's recent history and origin, according to a information released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. An IDNR Conservation Police Officer on Wednesday responded to a call from a Whiteside County farm owner that a large cat had been seen exiting a corn field, running toward the farm owner’s home and outbuildings. When the officer arrived at the farm, he made contact with the farm owner’s wife, who was in the house, and checked a horse barn and lot where the landowner’s horses were located. The cougar was discovered in a concrete tunnel beneath a corn crib. After consulting with the farm owner’s wife and IDNR law enforcement and wildlife personnel, and at the farm owner’s request, it was determined that the cougar should be euthanized. The cougar appeared to weigh more than 100 pounds and was 5 1/2 to 6-feet in length. Wildlife biologists will take possession of the animal and conduct a necropsy. Cougars, also known as mountain lions, were extirpated from Illinois before 1870 and are not protected by the Illinois Wildlife Code. There is no evidence that a resident breeding population exists in Illinois, but occasional transient cougars have been found in the state in recent years, likely dispersing from states to the west of Illinois, including South Dakota.