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The Great Cougar Cover Up (Illinois, Michigan)
WLS-TV/DT ^ | May 21, 2008 | Chuck Goudie

Posted on 05/22/2008 4:53:24 AM PDT by decimon

Remember the lone, wandering cougar that was shot and killed by Chicago police?

Some wildlife experts say it may not have been alone and may not have wandered so far. Are government officials in the Midwest covering up a dangerous and growing cougar population?

In some places, they're called mountain lions. Around here, they're known as cougars.

There are questions about whether government officials here in the Midwest are waging "the great cougar cover-up" by ignoring evidence and disavowing the wild cats' existence.

We know how one cougar's journey ended in the back yard of a Roscoe Village home. But Illinois authorities still don't know is where its journey began.

Although genetic analysis isn't complete, initial tests suggest the cougar made a 950 mile trip to Chicago from South Dakota. Wildlife experts interviewed by the I-Team say it's more likely the cougar came from much closer.

"I stopped. It frightened me," said witness Wendy Chamberlain.

Chamberlain investigates livestock attacks as township supervisor in Parma, Michigan. After documenting numerous accounts of cougars killing farm animals, Chamberlain herself saw one a few months ago near her home.

"It walked and went into the grass in this area right here," she said.

"We think the population is probably around 100 adults," said Dennis Fijalkowski, Michigan Wildlife Conservancy.

Fijalkowski's wildlife organization says there is a native population of cougars born; bred and residing in Michigan.

"I think we have 1,500 sightings in the last five years. But we estimate that is just a fraction of the total. A lot of people won't come forward because they've been made fools of for so long by the state," said Fijalkowski.

The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy has catalogued evidence; done their own DNA testing and obtained a video of cougars in far southeastern Michigan.

When the woman who shot the video showed it to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, officials told her they were common house cats.

A local video production company with experience in law enforcement cases tested the state's theory by putting a common house cat in the same spot the woman photographed the suspected cougar, and they compared its size to a 6-foot tall man in the middle and the suspected cougar on the left. Conclusion: it was no house cat.

Some cougar experts say it's more likely Chicago's cougar came from the upper peninsula of Michigan than South Dakota, but DNR officials in both states say they have no cougar populations.

"Could be ten, 20 or hundreds of cougar sightings in a year. But many turn out to be dogs, coyotes," said Dan Ludwig, Illinois DNR biologist.

The Illinois DNR has verified only three cougars here since the late 1800s, and those have been within the past several years. In the last six weeks, Illinois DNR biologists have investigated a dozen reports of cougars in metro Chicago and verified none.

"All the evidence we looked at came out negative," said Ludwig.

In Michigan, retired DNR forester Mike Zuidema says he was ridiculed when he reported seeing a cougar. Zudiema has now documented 1,100 cougar sightings in upper Michigan since the 1950s and believes authorities are trying to hide a growing cougar population.

"It was a cover-up initially related to budgets," he said.

He says state officials didn't want to pay the costs of managing a new endangered species and that recently a high-ranking Michigan DNR official told him there is a disinformation campaign underway.

"We have been told that when we talk to the press and news channels, not to say it was a mountain lion. You can say the tracks were consistent with mountain lions. Or it probably was a mountain lion. But don't actually say it was a mountain lion, even if you think so," said Zuidema.

That noncommittal approach was taken when the I-Team asked a Michigan DNR official whether there are cougars in his state.

"The department is looking at it. We feel that there is a possibility that there could be individuals scattered," said Adam Bump, Michigan DNR.

And even though some wildlife experts say Illinois could now have a breeding cougar population, DNR officials here also deny it.

"We do not feel there is a viable cougar population in Illinois. But what we do have possibly is transient animals, or what biologists say are dispersing animals, animals coming from their home area where they were born looking for another area," said Ludwig.

The cougar issue was magnified last month when Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley received threatening letters complaining about the animal shot and killed by police. The FBI is now investigating whether those threats are connected to an arson next to Daley's vacation home in Michigan.


TOPICS: Local News; Outdoors; Pets/Animals
KEYWORDS: banglist; cougars; hunting; mountainlions; wildlife
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1 posted on 05/22/2008 4:53:24 AM PDT by decimon
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To: decimon

This title screams for satire. I can’t wait to see the pics on this thread!


2 posted on 05/22/2008 4:57:29 AM PDT by IGOTMINE (1911s FOREVER!)
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To: decimon
Anecdotal evidence does not count unless you are:

A: a state approved, degreed wildlife biologist, or

B: Drop the carcass on their doorstep so one can verify that um, yup, it's a cougar all right.

Sightings and sign (tracks) were denied as being cougar in North Dakota, too, until a few got shot. Now the State has a 5 cat season on them...and a lot of ranchers have shovels.

3 posted on 05/22/2008 4:58:38 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: decimon

My brother lives in IL. When he told me they said the cat came from SD I told him they were crazy. He still believes the govt. in everything.


4 posted on 05/22/2008 5:03:13 AM PDT by raybbr (You think it's bad now - wait till the anchor babies start to vote!)
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To: decimon

Government officials will deny the big cats existence until a cougar eats some connected pol’s lap dog.


5 posted on 05/22/2008 5:03:27 AM PDT by 6SJ7
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To: decimon
A local video production company with experience in law enforcement cases tested the state's theory by putting a common house cat in the same spot the woman photographed the suspected cougar, and they compared its size to a 6-foot tall man in the middle and the suspected cougar on the left. Conclusion: it was no house cat.

"Listen Jones, I know that's your cat in my yard and it keeps eating my Great Danes."

6 posted on 05/22/2008 5:06:55 AM PDT by decimon
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To: decimon
initial tests suggest the cougar made a 950 mile trip to Chicago from South Dakota

Uh.....O.K.

7 posted on 05/22/2008 5:09:13 AM PDT by laotzu
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To: IncPen

I would say trank the cat, then throw in room with expert and lock the door. /s
LOL


8 posted on 05/22/2008 5:10:00 AM PDT by Nailbiter
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To: decimon

my cougar

9 posted on 05/22/2008 5:11:39 AM PDT by laotzu
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To: laotzu

my cougar

10 posted on 05/22/2008 5:13:37 AM PDT by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll.)
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To: theDentist

You don’t often see pictures open from bottom to top.


11 posted on 05/22/2008 5:17:41 AM PDT by decimon
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To: decimon
For years the MO department of conservation discounted reports of mountain lions in the Kansas City area. Then one morning, one was hit and killed by a pickup truck while chasing a deer across I-435 during the morning commute. It happened in an area known for caves AND and amusement park. That area is also becoming far more of a residential area these days.

We've also been having problems of coyotes taking cats and small dogs. It's only a matter of time before a child is attacked.

Mark

12 posted on 05/22/2008 5:19:28 AM PDT by MarkL
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To: IGOTMINE
Whatever do you mean?....


13 posted on 05/22/2008 5:23:15 AM PDT by Hatteras
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To: Smokin' Joe

A friend of my mom’s hit a cougar with his car in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan a few weeks ago. He’s got the photo’s.


14 posted on 05/22/2008 5:25:21 AM PDT by cyclotic (Support Scouting-Raising boys to be men, and politically incorrect at the same time.)
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To: decimon

What does any of that have to do with Demi Moore?


15 posted on 05/22/2008 5:36:46 AM PDT by Hegemony Cricket (Friends with umbrellas are outstanding in the rain.)
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To: laotzu

Frequent flyer miles. ;-)


16 posted on 05/22/2008 5:40:11 AM PDT by verity ("Lord, what fools these mortals be!")
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To: 6SJ7

Or their child.


17 posted on 05/22/2008 5:47:44 AM PDT by Farmer Dean (168 grains of instant conflict resolution)
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To: Hegemony Cricket
What does any of that have to do with Demi Moore?

She sent threatening letters to Mayor Daley?

18 posted on 05/22/2008 5:50:52 AM PDT by decimon
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To: MarkL
For years the MO department of conservation discounted reports of mountain lions in the Kansas City area.

Forget Kansas City. They should reconsider some of those AWOLs at Fort Leonard Wood. ;-)

19 posted on 05/22/2008 5:53:39 AM PDT by decimon
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To: decimon

This is cool. Chicago is dealing with cougars, and here in Richmond, VA we’ve got black bears. A tractor trailer ran one over on I-95 just a couple days ago.


20 posted on 05/22/2008 6:02:56 AM PDT by P8riot (I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop.)
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To: SJackson; grellis

midwest outdoors and MI pings.


21 posted on 05/22/2008 6:21:37 AM PDT by absolootezer0 ( Detroit: we're so bad, even our mayor is a criminal)
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To: decimon

“Dangerous” is a relative term. Here in rural central Missouri, I have seen cougar. I have seen what are left of deer that is consistent with being killed by cougar. But cougar are only dangerous to people who cannot defend themselves in the rare event they should be attacked.

When I walk the dog at night along a private road in the woods, I carry a side arm. One of the reasons that cougars are “dangerous” is where laws prevent people from being properly armed. It seems there are too many politicians whose policy of achieving victory over danger of any kind is to be defenseless.


22 posted on 05/22/2008 6:39:44 AM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: decimon

Wow. The conspiracy theory nuts are now claiming there’s a mountain lion population conspiracy? Wake me when sanity returns.


23 posted on 05/22/2008 7:04:50 AM PDT by arderkrag (Libertarian Nutcase (Political Compass Coordinates: 9.00, -2.62 - www.politicalcompass.org))
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To: laotzu

SWEEEEEEET!!!!!!


24 posted on 05/22/2008 7:10:00 AM PDT by Cheapskate (Still backing Hunter"I refuse to be fitted with collar and chain, and given a pat on the back")
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To: theBuckwheat
We find carcases on the golf course all the time, here in the Black Hills it is nothing to see cats running across the highways. Just last year there were three cats hit on the roads by cars. Dogs go missing and the people that raise Lamas are really up in arms over missing stock. A friend of mine lost a Doe , a buck and a fawn to the same cat before GFP did a damn thing so he shot it when it came for a 4th one. Man were they PISSED.
25 posted on 05/22/2008 7:16:15 AM PDT by snowman1
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To: arderkrag
Wake me when sanity returns.

You really need to think about that.

26 posted on 05/22/2008 7:32:17 AM PDT by decimon
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To: decimon

Good Point. How about “alert” instead of “wake”. That way I won’t sleep until the country disintegrates beneath me.


27 posted on 05/22/2008 7:37:02 AM PDT by arderkrag (Libertarian Nutcase (Political Compass Coordinates: 9.00, -2.62 - www.politicalcompass.org))
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To: snowman1

Did GFP fine him?


28 posted on 05/22/2008 7:40:52 AM PDT by B4Ranch
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To: snowman1

S. S. S.


29 posted on 05/22/2008 8:04:31 AM PDT by Roccus (Able Danger??? What's an Able Danger?????)
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To: Springman; sergeantdave; cyclotic; netmilsmom; RatsDawg; PGalt; FreedomHammer; queenkathy; ...
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

If you would like to be added or dropped from the Michigan ping list, please freepmail me.

30 posted on 05/22/2008 8:08:52 AM PDT by grellis (By order of the Ingham County Sheriff this tag has been seized for nonpayment of taxes)
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To: decimon

Since cougars don’t exist, we can go ahead and shoot them.


31 posted on 05/22/2008 8:21:36 AM PDT by sergeantdave (Governments hate armed citizens more than armed criminals)
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To: Iowa Granny; Ladysmith; Diana in Wisconsin; JLO; sergeantdave; damncat; phantomworker; joesnuffy; ..

If you’d like to be on or off this Upper Midwest/outdoors/rural list please FR mail me. And ping me is you see articles of interest.


32 posted on 05/22/2008 8:25:08 AM PDT by SJackson (It is impossible to build a peace process based on blood, Natan Sharansky)
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To: sergeantdave; Grammy; B4Ranch; george76; jazusamo; Diana in Wisconsin; proud_yank

Pasted below is a brief article I published in July 2007. Apparently there are so many lion sightings the USFWS is starting to take notice.

I published this after receiving a news alert from the USFWS.

USFWS Studying Mountain Lion Sightings

Volunteer outdoor enthusiasts have for years reported seeing what appears to be mountain lions while afield, but most of these are determined to be other creatures or perhaps captive animals that have been released into the wild.

Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a review of scientific and commercial information underway to determine the status of the endangered eastern cougar, the first review by the agency since publishing a recovery plan in 1982. The Service placed the eastern cougar on the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 1973.

Although the period for public comment on the agency review has passed, the UFWS is accepting comments on these sightings indefinitely.

“We will compile and evaluate scientific evidence to help us understand the status of the eastern cougar and to determine what future actions the Service should take,” said Martin Miller, chief of endangered species for the Service’s Northeast Region.

As part of the review, the Service is seeking information on the status of the eastern cougar in the 21 states — from Maine to South Carolina and westward from Michigan to Tennessee — where the Endangered Species Act protects it.

Lacking definitive evidence of the species’ existence, the Service has presumed the eastern cougar to be extinct. It is improbable that a small cougar population persisted in the eastern states for over a century.

Most of the confirmed cougar records since 1950 (animals killed, good quality photos/videos, genetic evidence) are known to be escapes of captive origin. There may be thousands of captive cougars in the eastern United States.

“An important part of the Service’s review will be to compile the best available scientific evidence and objectively assess whether the eastern cougar is truly extinct,” said Mark McCollough, endangered species biologist in the Service’s Northeast Region. McCollough and other Service staff will prepare the status review.

Anyone wishing to submit information regarding the eastern cougar may do so by writing to:

Eastern Cougar
Northeast Regional Office
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
300 Westgate Center Drive
Hadley, MA 01035
EasternCougar@fws.gov

For additional information on the eastern cougar, see http://www.fws.gov/northeast/ECougar Information on the Service’s endangered species program may be found at http://www.fws.gov/endangered


33 posted on 05/22/2008 8:58:22 AM PDT by girlangler (Fish Fear Me)
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To: decimon
Some folks claim to see cougars here in NJ, but the only ones I've ever seen like to hangout in the bars in Belmar, particularly towards the end of the summer season. ;-)

The worst we have hear are the black bear up in the hills, to say nothing of coyotes. Usually when someone around here claims to have seen a cougar, it is actually a bobcat.

34 posted on 05/22/2008 9:03:03 AM PDT by Clemenza (Why do I Find Myself Attracted to Amy Winehouse?)
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To: girlangler

>There may be thousands of captive cougars in the eastern United States.<

Without a doubt somebody is smoking the funny weed or drinking cheap booze.


35 posted on 05/22/2008 9:07:35 AM PDT by B4Ranch
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To: SJackson

One was spotted Mi. far Northeast Lower Penn.
Photos of prints confirmed.


36 posted on 05/22/2008 9:08:51 AM PDT by P8triot1 (Liberalism ALWAYS produces the exact opposite of its stated intent. Quinns 1st. law..)
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To: decimon

I saw one at the in-laws farm last year while I was out mowing a field. Walked right along a crop line, looked at me, then went into the corn.

I’m in Iowa...


37 posted on 05/22/2008 9:15:14 AM PDT by cspackler (There are 10 kinds of people in this world, those who understand binary and those who don't.)
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To: B4Ranch

I agree. Obviously something’s up with the increased sightings and the USFWS recent interest in documenting these.

I also have published stories here in Tennessee about the alligator populations in the western portion of the state, although alligators are not native here. I actually watched several small gators once in Reelfoot Lake.

Also, recently published a brief article about two bears (one collared) seen in west Tennessee, which were suspected to be from some stocked in Arkansas. We do have bears in east Tennessee, but haven’t had a population in the west in a century.

Coyotes are not native here, but we have a large number of them, in fact now have a year round, no limit, hunting season. Oh, and we also have non native armidillos in west Tennessee.


38 posted on 05/22/2008 9:18:09 AM PDT by girlangler (Fish Fear Me)
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To: Grammy

Found this site you might find interesting:

http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/tn-lion/

Also I finally looked up an article I published in 2007, (post #33) so thought you might want to check out the USFWS site on cougars.


39 posted on 05/22/2008 9:34:08 AM PDT by girlangler (Fish Fear Me)
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To: decimon; girlangler

Mr G wrote to the TWRS about the one we heard here, and also cited the fact that our neighbor saw one about a year ago at this time.

They did not even bother to respond.

I have lived on this property for 21 years now. I have heard coyotes, bobcats, and rattlesnakes. Even a bucksnort will startle you when it is 10 feet away! But I have never been afraid like I was when I heard that cat sound.

Bet if I notify them that I have shot one they will respond.


40 posted on 05/22/2008 9:34:24 AM PDT by Grammy
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To: Grammy

“Bet if I notify them that I have shot one they will respond.”

In a New York minute.

How can you shoot one if they don’t exist (LOL)?


41 posted on 05/22/2008 9:50:59 AM PDT by girlangler (Fish Fear Me)
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To: girlangler

Sounds like the possibility of Eastern cougars is a real one. Cougars are not something one sees often in their natural habitat, they are extremely elusive. Some people obviously wouldn’t know a cougar from a bobcat or even cayote but that would not account for the majority of sightings.

If the USFWS is starting to take notice it’s a good bet that they do exist, IMO.


42 posted on 05/22/2008 9:57:06 AM PDT by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: decimon

>> “He says state officials didn’t want to pay the costs of managing a new endangered species...”<<

“ENDANGERED SPECIES”

Considering that California, Oregon, and Washington have more than PLENTY of cougars, making the “Eastern cougar” an endangered species s a serious bad thing.

1. Making a large predator which can and does kill and eat humans, not to mention livestock, is a serious mistake.

2. It will become a major crime, to kill, hit, or even shout at, a cougar, even if it is eating your calf (or thigh!).

3. You will not be allowed to do anything anywhere near where a cougar might live. If you think this is an exaggeration, you need only consider the pseudo-endangered Spotty Owl.

See no cougar, hear no cougar, speak no cougar. Or you will regret it.

DG


43 posted on 05/22/2008 10:08:04 AM PDT by DoorGunner ( Being invaded by cougars is catamount to disaster!)
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To: girlangler

Western Tennessee is becoming quite the unreal spot for zoology. Gators and armidillos, no less. Wow! How in the hell would gators get up in that back country? Folks bringing them home from visits to Florida, you reckon?


44 posted on 05/22/2008 10:16:22 AM PDT by B4Ranch
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To: B4Ranch
LOL. All kinds of critters are making their way to God's Country: See An Armadillo, Turn It In It used to rare to see a coyote in Tennessee. Now there is a liberal hunting season on this non-native species. Turns out now there may be another new animal, typically found in the western U.S., calling Tennessee home. Lee Griggs, an undergraduate senior at Belmont University researched the exotic and possibly invasive animal species as part of his research class at Belmont last summer. Griggs talked to many people and decided to research the rare and fairly unfamiliar Nine banded armadillo, according to officials with the Tennessee Wildlfie Resources Agency. A few people had spotted the armadillo in different areas such as near I-40, on Highway 100, Belle Meade Blvd., and even downtown Nashville. Armadillos are so rare in Middle Tennessee that many zoologists, environmental professionals, etc. know only a little about the strange creatures, and about how many are here. "Lee decided to hopefully set the foundation for further research or knowledge about these animals by asking the question, 'How prevalent are the armadillos in Middle Tennessee and to what extent,'" said TWRA officials. Griggs also is planned to set up a recorded database of armadillo sightings to help learn about where they could be researched in the future. TWRA officials said persons can e-mail Lee regarding any sightings griggsa@pop.belmont.edu and he will enter the information in the database. His plan was to gather valuable results from July through December 2005. Most sightings to this point have been in areas of Warner Parks, near water, since they seem to be found there more often. The armadillo has become well established in many southern states; it is even the state mammal of Texas. They are best known for being roadkill as well as digging up people's gardens, but Lee believes that knowing more about them now will help in controlling/monitoring them in the future. Most importantly, he hopes the information derived from his project will be informative and helpful to various wildlife agencies in managing these animals as they progress into Middle Tennessee, said TWRA. Does Tennessee Have An Alligator Population? Surrounding states like Mississippi and Georgia have established alligator seasons the past few years, and Alabama wildlife officials are considering one. Arkansas has reintroduced the animals, and officials there hope to have a hunting season someday. Here in Tennessee alligator sightings are becoming more frequent around the Memphis area, making one wonder if there might one day be an established population here in the Volunteer State. News reports from Memphis television stations have described recent sightings of alligators near the Mississippi River and McKeller Lake. According to TWRA officials there have been about five alligator sightings around these areas, the first reported last April. They have confirmed two sightings, one about 6 1/2 feet long, the other about five 1/2 feet. Alan Peterson, TWRA wildlife biologist said officials have expected alligators would show up in Tennessee, since the state of Arkansas released these in a federal refuge several years ago. He said officials knew it would be just a matter of time until the reptiles made it here.
45 posted on 05/22/2008 10:47:48 AM PDT by girlangler (Fish Fear Me)
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To: girlangler

Yikes!!! What happened to my paragraphs?


46 posted on 05/22/2008 10:48:59 AM PDT by girlangler (Fish Fear Me)
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To: decimon
Around here they are called catamounts.

Go Cats!

47 posted on 05/22/2008 10:52:22 AM PDT by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: laotzu
When I saw the headline and I saw the story was on the Michigan ping, I too thought of the car. Really! I thought we were gonna get details about another Ford Motor Company screw up.

When the woman who shot the video showed it to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, officials told her they were common house cats.

Maybe it was swamp gas.

48 posted on 05/22/2008 12:00:44 PM PDT by Mad-Margaret (Remember I'm a kook, scammer, or troll the next time you want money.)
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To: grellis; george76
Thanks grellis.
Google

49 posted on 05/22/2008 12:22:45 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_______________________Profile updated Monday, April 28, 2008)
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To: girlangler

I have seen a lot of the changes caused from Katrina but when hard headed critters such as armadillos and gators decide that it was too big a blow to ever have go through again that really gives me reason to respect hurricanes like never before. Yes’um, they is right up there at the top with earthquakes and tornados now, at least in my book.


50 posted on 05/22/2008 12:26:57 PM PDT by B4Ranch
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