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Scientists are eager to study cougar shot in Chicago

May 1, 2008 | 11:00 am

Chicagocourgar_ii We've got an update on the cougar that was shot by police in Chicago last month. L.A. Unleashed first blogged about it when the animal had the misfortune to wander into that city's North Side. The Chicago Tribune has the latest.

DNA test results released Wednesday show that the cougar police shot in Chicago last month is the same one that frightened a southern Wisconsin man in January, and researchers hope cutting-edge forensic techniques will reveal even more about the animal's long, mysterious journey.

In the next few weeks scientists with the U.S. Forest Service will do a fine-grained genetic analysis that could reveal more about the 124-pound cat's ancestry — possibly even its mother or father. Cook County animal-control officials also have sent out test samples of the cougar's claws, which may bear molecular clues about the cougar's diet and where it was born.

According to the Tribune, the new tests show that it's possible the cougar traveled 1,000 miles, from the Black Hills of South Dakota to the Windy City.

-- Alice Short

Photo: Candice C. Cusic/Associated Press

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