The Atlantic City Press reports unsubstantiated sightings of a mountain lion in Upper Township, New Jersey.
UPPER TOWNSHIP — The Township Committee is trying to determine whether mountain-lion sightings in the area are fact or phantom.
Mayor Richard Palombo this week publicly urged residents who have seen a large cat — maybe a mountain lion or a big bobcat — to notify the township’s animal-control officer.
“At this point, we’re making everyone alert about it. The animal-control officer is looking at it if anyone sees an animal,” the mayor said.
Liam Hughes, who handles animal control in parts of Atlantic and Cape May counties, said there are no confirmed lion sightings. Nor could anyone find scat or tracks, called pug marks.
But the lion stories persist.
“There are reports of it. Nothing positive,” Hughes said. “Did you see this? Did you hear this? There are credible people who believe they saw something.”
State Police in Woodbine and the Cape May County Park & Zoo are aware of the rumored sightings. The zoo is home to the county’s one and only known mountain lion.
Hughes said a cougar could make a tidy living in Upper Township, home to the Great Cedar Swamp and its countless muskrats, rabbits, turkey and deer — all cougar favorites.
But could a large cat remain undetected in a suburban township such as Upper?
Out here in Silicon Valley, highly substantiated sightings, like the case of the mountain lion shot out of a front yard tree in Palo Alto, are far from rare.