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Monday, March 17, 2008

Were tracks made cougar?

Has the infamous Milton cougar made its way to Walworth County?
Perhaps.

Last week, a state conservation warden found cougar tracks about seven miles northeast of Elkhorn.

The DNR verified the tracks as those of a cougar from photos taken at the scene. A hair sample was collected for genetic analysis.

The tracks were found about 23 miles east-southeast of a cougar sighting east of Milton in January.

"It is possible these (tracks) are the same cougar's, although tracks measured at the Elkhorn site seemed somewhat larger," Adrian Wyedeven, a DNR mammal ecologist, said in a news release.

He said track sizes can differ based on snow conditions or whether the front or hind feet made them.

"It is hoped that genetic testing will be able to determine the relationships of these cougars to each other," Wyedeven said.

Genetic testing of urine and blood samples from the Milton cougar have shown it had a mother of a North American subspecies.

Neither the father's side nor the sex of the animal has been determined.

The Milton cat is the first confirmed cougar in Wisconsin since 1908.

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