City councilor pounces on possible mountain lion tracks

By Ben Holbrook | Jan 25, 2013

Belfast — City Councilor Eric Sanders believed he had discovered mountain lion tracks in Grove Cemetery, but no confirmed sightings of the animal have been reported.

Sanders briefly mentioned that he discovered the tracks of what he believed to be a mountain lion while walking his dog in Grove Cemetery. He said he found the tracks near some angel statues in the cemetery, but he did not see any other signs of the large cat.

Belfast Police Chief Mike McFadden said the department had not received any reports of a mountain lion being spotted in the city, and said he didn’t think it was likely the animal would venture so close to civilization.

However, McFadden did acknowledge that he saw an animal quickly run across the road at dusk a few years ago and he said it’s possible it could have been a mountain lion.

“I can’t imagine a mountain lion in the city limits isn’t going to be seen,” he said.

According to the state of Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, mountain lions inhabit large tracts of undeveloped land. The large cats, which can grow up to eight feet long and weigh more than 200 pounds, were found throughout all of South and North America.

However, mountain lions are now located primarily in the western United States and in Canada. The closest known mountain lion breeding ground to Maine is in northwestern Ontario.

Anyone who sees a mountain lion is encouraged to report the sighting to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife as soon as possible. Sightings can be verified with good photographs, tracks, scat and hair samples.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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