The first-ever cougar remains found in Ontario have been analyzed.

In March, a cougar carcass was found in northwestern Ontario, just outside of Thunder Bay. Mandi Weist, a Lakehead University student found the carcass, and reported it to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

The ministry confirmed that it as the first ever carcass of a mountain lion, or cougar, found in the province of Ontario. While there has been reports of sightings, footprints and photos in the area, nobody had found one deceased before.

The carcass was sent to the United States for DNA testing, and the results have now been released. Senior Media Relations Officer with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Jolanta Kowalski, detailed the results of the analysis.

“We sent the tissue sample to the United States Research Station in Montana for analysis. They have a database of genetic profiles. The station created a profile, similar to what police use for forensic cases for humans, and compared the profile of that cougar to profiles of cougars across the United States. They determined with 95 per cent probability that this cougar was related to the Black Hills of Wyoming, South Dakota and northwest Nebraska. Odds are, the animal was not part of a resident cougar population in northwestern Ontario. It would be highly-unlikely that it was from Ontario, but we can’t say for sure,” he said.

The cougar was stuffed, and has since been used for educational purposes. A taxidermist with Boreal Tales Taxidermy noted that  the animal had nothing in its stomach, and its muscles had started to atrophy, which meant the mountain lion had likely died of natural causes. While porcupine quills were found on its shoulder and cheek, none were in its mouth. So, in an effort to find food, the cougar had tangled with a porcupine, but it must've been a futile attempt.

Kowalski then spoke about how rare the situation was.

“There have been instances where cougars who were being kept as pets, and in some cases, may have had to be shot. Other than that, in all of my years here, I don’t remember anything like this. It was so unusual, and very interesting to people who wanted to know where it came from. How it ended up here will probably remain a mystery,” she said.

Cougars are considered endangered in Ontario. 

Cougar 2
Cougar 3

For more information:
First ever mountain lion remains found in Ontario
Cougars in northwestern Ontario?
Cougar photo backs sightings

More Local News

Rickford to tackle hydro workers

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford may not get much of a holiday break. That's because he's also Ontario's energy minister, and hydro workers are threatening to strike. Rickford was recalled to…

Careful with ice conditions

Spencer Caruso from Lake of the Woods Sports Headquarters says it's great weather for some ice fishing. "Crappie fishing's pretty good," he said, noting the smaller lakes are a better choice this…

Province outlines screening for teachers, daycare staff

The Ministry of Education says there are measures in place for background checks, which apply for teachers and daycare staff. Ingrid Anderson from ministry notes the Ontario College of Teachers…

Education cuts for tutors, physical activity

Opposition critic Marit Stiles of the NDP is taking aim at cuts in education funding. Stiles describes as callous the changes, which were announced late Friday by the provincial government. “Doug…

Feds need application for twinning, Nault

Kenora MP Bob Nault says he's waiting to see a proposal from Queen's Park for the twinning of the Trans-Canada. "I want to encourage the provincial government to get moving, because the Minister of…

Water levels to drop

Engineers with the Lake of the Woods Control Board are looking to reduce water levels on the Winnipeg River again next week. They're working to make room for the spring melt, after an unusually wet…

Traffic delays east of Kenora

Emergency crews are working with police to clear away the scene of an accident about a half-hour east of Kenora. There's no estimate for how long the highway may be closed, or traffic delayed.…

Taverner appointment on hold

Broadcast news is reporting the premier's office is delaying the appointment of Ron Taverner as the next commissioner of the OPP, until an investigation into political interference can be completed.…

Thunder Bay police board suspended

Grand Council Treaty 3 now has time to go over recommendations on the Thunder Bay Police Service. The Grand Council joined with Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Rainy River First Nation in raising concerns…

Resolute, Unifor talk restart in Fort

After five years of waiting, there's a flurry of activity surrounding the mill in Fort Frances. "At this time, there is a growing number of people and organizations expressing an interest in…

KenoraOnline.com is Kenora's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Login