Wildlife officer spots mountain lion in northeast Ohio
It wasn't a sasquatch, but an off duty Ohio of Division Wildlife officer reported he saw what appeared to be a mountain lion June 29 in Jefferson County near the Fernwood State Forest, the ODNR reported.
Wildlife officers as well as local law enforcement officers are investigating the reported sighting, said Jjamey Emmert, a ODNR spokeswoman. People are encouraged to call the Ohio DOW District Three office at 330-644-2293 or 1-800-WILDLIFE if they see the mountain lion.
An advisory was also sent to local schools for distribution to athletic and cross-country teams, Emmert said in a news release.
The officer "is absolutely certain that it was a mountain lion" he spotted from about 50 feet for 20 seconds about 6 p.m. in the Wintersville area, Emmert said.
Emmert said while the DOW has received reports of mountain-lion sightings over the years, such sightings have turned out to be misidentifications or other animals.
As part ot its investigation, the DOW is reviewing records of individuals that have or had captive mountain lions in the area, Emmert said.
If the animal sighted is confirmed as a mountain lion, it is probably a young male moving through the area. Mountain lions can cover as much as 20 miles daily, according to the ODNR.
Mountain lions, also known as cougars, pumas or catamounts, are tawny,grayish felines with dark-tipped long tails. and weigh up to 170 pounds. They are meat eaters and usually prey on birds, white-tail fawns, and rodents.
Formerly found throughout North America, the mountain lion is now found in the remote areas of the western U.S., as well as western Canada and much of Mexico. A small population exists in southern Florida.
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