Possible cougar spotted in suburban forest preserve

GLENDALE HEIGHTS, Ill. -- Forest Preserve Police are warning residents of a possible cougar sighting in DuPage county after someone reported spotting a cougar at the East Branch Forest Preserve in Glendale Heights on Friday.

While officials posted signs on information boards just to let people know there could be a cougar out there, so far only one witness says they saw one on Friday. And they aren't a hundred percent sure it really was a cougar at all.

Ecologist Brian Kraskie says if it was a cougar, it is highly likely it was a young adult searching for a mate or suitable habitat and was just passing through.

For more than 100 years, cougars were non-existent in the state, the Forest Perseve says. Only recently have they started popping up again, and in 2008 Chicago Police shot a cougar in Roscoe Village. The animals can get up to 240 pounds. Frank Jankovics hopes if there is a cougar in DuPage County, it wont meet the same fate.

"If they are moving back into the area let them be; they don't bother anybody," Jankovics said.

Signs are posted at entrances to all the trails at the East Branch Forrest Preseve, but officers stress its a just a precaution and they don't want to scare one.

No other sightings have been reported since Friday, but we've learned Sunday the Illinois DNR was called and they didn't find any cougar tracks.