Veterinarian reports seeing mountain lion in Glencoe
Updated: January 7, 2013 6:44AM
GLENCOE — After eight months of North Shore cougar sightings, there’s finally one from someone with credibility as an animal expert.
“I can definitely recognize a mountain lion,” veterinarian Bryan Haag, DVM, said Monday. “I’ve seen them before.”
“It was a big, tan cat, with a long, tan cat tail, and that striking, small head,” he said.
“I took a double-take. You don’t usually see an exotic animal on Green Bay Road.”
He said the animal crossed in front of his car Nov. 25 just south of Lake Cook Road in Glencoe. He didn’t report it until Friday, thinking his would just be one more voice in the chorus, but colleagues at Niles’ Golf-Mil Veterinary Hospital, which he co-owns with wife Sara May, DVM, encouraged him to do so.
He wasn’t alone. Saturday, a cab driver called police and reported seeing a cougar in about the same spot at 2 a.m., but he didn’t leave a name. The cabbie described it as a dark tan, cat-like animal with a long, thick tail.
Chicago Botanic Garden security was called, but all that was seen on the grounds were coyotes, according to Glencoe Police.
Most experts have wondered whether previous sightings were really coyotes. Haag has seen several coyotes in Evanston, where he lived before a recent move to Winnetka, and he rejects the claim.
“Zero resemblance. The tail’s very long. Coyotes have a bushy, ratty tail, but this was a very long tail.”
There were unpublicized Glencoe sightings as far back as April, and several more there and elsewhere on the North Shore since then. The glimpse that attracted the first attention was reported in the Pioneer Press last summer, after a July 26 incident on Dell Place beach.
“There is no question what it was,” said Jim Almdale, a paid-on-call Glencoe firefighter who had been hired to keep an eye on the little Glencoe beach.
“Coyotes don’t have tails like that,” he said.