July 16, 2008

Coppell Police Investigate Possible Cougar Sightings

By Charles Scudder, The Dallas Morning News

Jul. 16--Coppell police are investigating reports of possible cougar or mountain lion sightings in the area around Belt Line Road and Mockingbird Lane.

Although the reports remain unconfirmed, at least two residents reported seeing something over the weekend, according to Deputy Chief of Police Gary Nix.

"Over a period of time, we have had a report of a large cat," Deputy Chief Nix said. "We have taken some action now to be proactive."

Police say they have posted flyers in the area of the sightings, set out traps, and posted information on the city's Web site.

Similar sightings have been reported in the Preston Creek neighborhood of North Dallas, near Preston and Campbell roads.

Residents there are used to wildlife in the area -- but nothing this big, according to homeowners' association president, Marianne Morris.

"I know we have had bobcats for years. There is wildlife in the area, but as development comes, they lose their habitat," she said. "We certainly do not want the animal destroyed."

Most mountain lions in Texas live in the trans-Pecos area of south Texas, according to Brett Johnson, an urban wildlife biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

He said he had been called to the Coppell area to investigate similar claims in the past, and doubts whether or not there actually is a cougar in Coppell.

"A couple of times I have been called up there, but the tracks I have been called to investigate that were supposed to be from a mountain lion were distinctly canine," Mr. Johnson said.

Animal tracks found this weekend were photographed and sent to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in both Dallas and Denton counties for further investigation, according to Deputy Chief Nix.

"We are taking it very seriously, just in case," he said.


To see more of The Dallas Morning News, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.dallasnews.com.

Copyright (c) 2008, The Dallas Morning News

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

For reprints, email [email protected], call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.