Cougar Killed At West Point Lake

Nov. 18, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WXTX) - Wildlife officials believe a cougar that was killed at West Point Lake had been in captivity and either escaped or was set free.

Melissa Cummings of the state Department of Natural Resources said Monday that the cat was killed Sunday morning. She told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer that the DNR was still gathering information, and she did not know the size of the cougar or the circumstances of its death.

UPDATE: Since cougars are not native to the Georgia area, the Department of Natural Resources sent the animal to the University of Georgia, for tests to see where it came from.

Jennifer Barnes in Public Relations for DNR told News Leader Nine, "The cougar seemed to be very healthy, it was well-fed and the pads on all four paws were scuffed up. He had low parasite levels. All of those things led us to believe he was a captive cougar."

According to the Department of Natural Resources, there are no permitted cougars in the area, and the closest permitted facilities, in Elmore and Macon counties in Alabama, are not missing any animals. They say the cougar must have been released or escaped from an individual.

Currently, there is no evidence as to who had the animal, but DNR is continuing an investigation.