Water, Earth, Sky

Scott Shenk writes about the environment.

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Local photo adds to cougar mythology

The photo on Facebook shows what appears to be a cat-like creature captured by a game camera near  Todds Tavern. The post suggests it’s a cougar, thought to have disappeared from Virginia woods long ago.  Of course,  I was really interested because I happen to live  in the Spotsylvania County hamlet. I wouldn’t  want a mountain lion stalking my 15-year-old dog, Tippy, or our two cats. Still, when I first saw the photo, taken in September and making the rounds this week, I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if  a mountain lion had made itself at home in the neighborhood?

So I forwarded the image to John Odenkirk, a  biologist in the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Fredericksburg office, who referred me to the agency’s Verona office. There I talked to  a wildlife biologist who looks into cougar reports from across the state. Turns out that they are more common than you’d think. I’ll have all the details  in my story in Friday’s Free Lance-Star.


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