Cougar illustration

Maybe it was a cougar after all?

(ABOVE: Photo illustration.)

Last week we published a story called “It’s probably not a cougar that you saw in Stittsville” after neighbours on Savage Drive thought they saw a cougar, and snapped some photos of the tracks the animal left behind.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) say they haven’t had a confirmed cougar sighting in Ontario since 1884, but many of our readers are convinced that there are cougars living in the province.

What about the cougar in the Kanata hay loft last year?  Or the one that the MNR caught in Grafton, Ontario a couple years ago?

“As a fish and wildlife biologist and outdoor writer who has covered cougar sightings in ON & QC for the past 20 years I can tell you, with absolute certainty, that the MNR is wrong,” says Jeff Morrison, editor-in-chief of Fish Hunt & Ride Magazine.

“Over the years I have received hundreds of cougar sighting reports, photos, trailcam images, carried out interviews and observed solid evidence to prove the existence of big cats, not only on this province but in our region as well. [There is ] far too much evidence to be from escaped captive animals alone,” he says.

Morrison has written several articles about cougars in Ontario, including Peterborough, South Mountain, Ottawa’s Greenbelt, and dozens more.

MNR still isn’t convinced. Jane Devlin, a management biologist with the Kemptville office of the Ministry of Natural Resources,  says that they haven’t had sufficient evidence to conclude that any of the recent sightings are actually cougars.

(The odd time where they have found a cougar, it’s been an escapee. For example, the cougar in Grafton in 2014 had escaped from an exotic pet owner. The MNR trapped the animal and it now lives in a zoo in Quebec.)

How much proof does the MNR need before confirming a cougar sighting?

“[It] may include a combination of pieces of evidence, such as tracks, scats, fur, and photographs which clearly show the size and features of the animal. In the event that physical evidence is available, further testing such as DNA and collaboration with experts may be required to confirm species,” say Devlin.

We still have no idea if the Savage Drive sighting was a cougar. It could have been a lynx or a bobcat or a coyote or any number of things. So keep your cameras close at hand Stittsville, it’s wild out there. Send your wildlife pics to us at feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca.

With files from Devyn Barrie.


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6 thoughts on “Maybe it was a cougar after all?”

  1. Judging from the blurry photo, I’d say lynx is less likely because a lynx appears to have much larger hind legs than front legs.
    Bobcats appear to be more furry in the head.
    As much as I’d like to say that people are seeing big foot and all that, the picture kind of does support a cougar here – IF the picture is genuine that is.
    I can’t find any pictures of large cats in North America that have that same head features as the cougar (eastern mountain lion) does.

    However, the officially confirmed last sighting of one here was from 1884. I don’t side with conspiracies, so, I think that suggests that the picture is fake.

    Proper indisputable evidence is needed. This isn’t that evidence.

  2. I’m pretty sure I actually found the original picture that this blurry picture was made from !
    http://www.discover-southern-ontario.com/lynx.html

    The picture shown is a cougar.
    The pose and outline is the same as the blurry one shown in the SC article! To the right and up from the lynx there is a matching tree feature. The yellow feature to the left of the lynx is there, although it might have been moved a bit.
    I find it a rather close match. I can easily that the original lynx picture and blur it as if it came from a shaky cell phone capture.
    I downloaded the jpg file from the stittsville central site and hex-edited it, showing: …(c) Jnevitt | Dreamstime.com….Photoshop 3.0.8…

    Found the original stock photo here: http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-mountain-lion-image26831476

    So yes, the photo shown in the article is fake. It is photoshopped.

  3. I did see a Cougar near Renfrew on Highway 62 two years ago, it ran across the road about 200 yards in front of me, I saw it for about 2 seconds and it disappeared into the ditch by the time I got to It’s location. It was the size of a large dog and was definetly not a Lynx or any other animal. This was about 45 minutes from Stittsville.

  4. I believe I saw a cougar at my parents’ farm in the Dwyer Hill area last October. I was walking alone in the back fields and saw it about 200 feet away, poking at what seemed to be an animal carcass. When I returned to the house, my parents told me several neighbors had independently reported seeing a cougar in the previous 2 or 3 days … these are all local farmers who know the difference and I doubt they would all be wrong.

    I know from personal experience that it definitely wasn’t a dog or cat, fox, wolf, fisher, bear, deer or bear. And it definitely did not have the body shape, height, coloring, facial/head shape, fur or markings of a lynx or bobcat … but the animal I saw matched these characteristics for a cougar. If I had any doubt, the fact that several neighbors reported separate cougar sightings in the days before and after my sighting simply validated it … I’m convinced it was a cougar.

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