Cougar's Long Trek to Chicago May Tell Tale

Cat likely from SD may yield clues about human overpopulation
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 1, 2008 11:03 AM CDT
A cougar that traveled some 1,000 miles has aroused the interest of scientists.   (
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(Newser) – A cougar shot April 14 in Chicago was spotted earlier in Wisconsin, DNA tests show, suggesting an epic trek. Now, scientists are eager to study the animal, hoping to learn more about how and why it migrated; they aim to pin down its ancestry in an effort to better understand how animals like it adjust to human populations, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Due to overpopulation in the cougar’s likely home in South Dakota, “it's gotten to a place where there's no space,” requiring a move, an expert suggested. The cougar may have tried “to go … see what's out there,” he added. Though food would have been plentiful along its path, it may have kept moving in search of a mate, another scientist says. (Read more cougar stories.)