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Study: Cougars again spreading across Midwest

A cougar at Wildlife Prairie State Park near Peoria. (E. Jason Wambsgans/ Chicago Tribune / June 14, 2012)

A cougar at Wildlife Prairie State Park near Peoria. (E. Jason Wambsgans/ Chicago Tribune / June 14, 2012)

Cougars are again spreading across the Midwest a century after the generally reclusive predators were hunted to near extinction in much of the region, according to a new study billed as the first rigorous statistical look at the issue.

The findings, detailed in The Journal of Wildlife Management, showed 178 cougar confirmations in the Midwest and as far south as Texas between 1990 and 2008. While confirmed sightings of Midwest cougars were sporadic before 1990, when there were only a couple, that number spiked to more than 30 by 2008, the study shows.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

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