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Cougars, bears & moose :: June 03, 2004: 11:06 AM

I wish to gloat a little: I am not so crazy as some might have thought!

Our local alternative weekly writes this week about the re-appearance of some big animals in the state and the increased contact with humans of others (like bear, moose) - AND the reappearence of cougars.

A few years ago my youngest daughter and I saw an animal while camping and, fearing no-one would believe us, we have kept quiet about it since. We are vindicated! We can be open about our experience!

Camping in Virginia and out in the dark looking at fireflies we saw a large animal moving silently through the trees and down to the lakeside. It was big, a long body, a long tail held horizontally, smallish head and the size of a large dog: the motion definitely feline. We stood and gawped.

In the night the bears came and tried to check out the trash cans but we did not see them.

Back home, I looked in the animal books: no mention of anything in the area but the pictures of cougars looked very close to what we saw. Well, if they are here in our populated area I think there must be a good chance they are in woodlands of Virginia.

So we are coming out as spotters of a big wild cat and not more than 60 yards away from us. For Brits, for whom hedgehogs are as wild as it gets, this is indeed awesome neus ws. Thank you Metroland for allowing us to talk about it! ( it seems wolves may be back too, though some still think it was a coyote (more common here.)

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