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DEC captures photo of ‘big cat’

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Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 2365
Location: New York

PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:56 pm    Post subject: DEC captures photo of ‘big cat’ Reply with quote

By Julie Sherwood, staff writer
Daily Messenger
Posted Mar 25, 2009 @ 09:54 AM

Canandaigua, N.Y. — The state Department of Environmental Conservation officer dispatched to investigate what some residents say is a cougar prowling fields just west of the city came back from his visit with a photo of a cat — a big house cat.

John Dobies, a DEC environmental conservation officer, visited Charlotte and Floyd Blaser of Bristol Road on Saturday because the Blasers had reported multiple sightings of two animals they say looked like cougars. Dobies saw the smaller of the two, a gray animal, and took photos late Saturday afternoon.

Dobies wouldn’t answer questions about what he saw, deferring instead to Lt. David Baker, a DEC law enforcement supervisor.

“It is definitely not a mountain lion, a cougar,” said Baker, who was forwarded the photos.

“People don’t realize just how big a mountain lion is,” Baker continued. “It is big enough to pull down a deer. This one was capable of pulling down a squirrel.”

Calling the animal behind Blaser’s house “a very large house cat,” Baker said it appeared to weigh no more than about 15 pounds and be about 14 inches tall. He arrived at this estimate by comparing the animal with the size of a wire fence behind it in a photo. The fence has 6-inch squares. The gray feline is much too small to be a cougar and doesn’t have some of the tell-tale characteristics, such as a long neck, he said. An adult male cougar is between 25 and 37 inches tall to the shoulder, between 6 and 9 feet in length and weighs between 110 and 180 pounds, said Baker. Females are a bit smaller, but still weigh close to 100 pounds, he said.

The DEC maintains there aren’t any wild cougars here.

“I wouldn’t say it isn’t possible for a cougar to get out of farm captivity,” said Baker. “There are no wild mountain lions in New York state and certainly not in western New York,” he added.

But the Blasers and others aren’t dissuaded. Floyd has logged more than nine different sightings beginning Feb. 15, which include seeing a larger, brown feline, and he continues to watch for the beasts. Brian and Dawn Brown of Freshour Road in Hopewell are among those who have shared their own experiences with the Blasers about what they believe is a cougar. Dawn said she and other members of her family saw a huge, wild black cat, which looked to weigh about 70 pounds, on two occasions on their property a few years ago. They never reported it, but it fit the description of a cougar and they continue to be interested in others’ sightings, she said. The Browns were at the Blasers’ home Saturday when the gray “cat” came around.

“People don’t realize just how big a mountain lion is. It is big enough to pull down a deer. This one was capable of pulling down a squirrel.”
- Lt. David Baker, law enforcement supervisor for the state Department of Environmental Conservation

“We watched it for half an hour,” said Dawn. It doesn’t look like any house cat she has ever seen, she said.

“It has a regal look to it,” she said. “It has a very long tail, is a thick, wide cat ... and it did not jump like a house cat.”

Floyd Blaser said he will continue to try to get his own photos of the cat. Last night, in fact, the Blasers and Browns saw a reappearance of the larger animal in the field behind the Blaser home, which Floyd estimates to be about 6-feet long, with a 5-foot long tail.

Last weekend, the Blasers had a visit from Bruce and Mary Anne Thon of Penn Yan. The Yates County couple has been researching cougars in central and western New York since 1999, volunteering with West Virginia-based organization, Eastern Puma Research Network. The Thons have chronicled more than 300 sightings of the animals and last year finished writing a book, “Ghost Cats of Central New York,” shedding light on cougar spottings.

Floyd said the Thons set up a camera in his back yard to capture photos of the felines. It didn’t appear to be working, though, Floyd said Tuesday, as the camera had gotten waterlogged. But Floyd said he is staying in touch with the couple and thinks there is a good chance they will eventually get the evidence they need to show the animals are indeed cougars.

“I will keep looking,” Floyd said.

Now I know where that cat went Arrow
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13years of dedication Studying "Cougars" taking sighting reports, Tracking & Filming the wild!
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Joined: 21 Jul 2005
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Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here kitty, kitty.....

It's the magical shrinking cat syndrome....you know those little toys that you add water and they blow up to 10 times their original size? And it hasn't rained for a while after all.....

Did the Dec bring their own house cat with them for that photo?? Rolling Eyes

"Those who hear not the music,
Think the dancers mad."
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