Cougar spotted at popular park

February 1, 2010 9:08:12 PM PST
What would you do if you saw a cougar roaming in a popular park? One man picked up the phone and called law enforcement. At Terry Hershey Park, it's normal to see animals on leashes, but officers have been looking for a big, wild cat here since Sunday morning.

It was his usual ritual at Terry Hershey Park that brought Larry Nicholson within feet of the unusual.

"We didn't know if it was a coyote," said Larry.

It was Sunday morning, he and his wife were on their daily walk along the trail when they noticed something strange. Perched on a hill was a large cat. They didn't know how large until it moved.

"It was about the size of a Labrador Retriever, I'd say around 100 pounds. It had a very long tail, very pronounced, sharp set ears," Larry said

Too big to be a bobcat, too cat-like to be a coyote, Larry believes it was cougar.

"Maybe it was aware of humans, but it was not afraid of us at all," he said.

Though it was an odd phone call.

"It was like I was calling up to report a UFO," said Larry.

He and his wife called the Precinct 5 Constable's Office who deputies have been looking for any signs of the animal ever since. Terry Hershey Park stretches for miles along neighborhoods. Larry says when the cat got up, it walked towards homes. He wants this story to serve as a warning.

"I think that's it, just be aware and keep your eyes open," Larry said.

The Precinct 5 Constable's Office has alerted Texas Parks and Wildlife officials. They say it is possible the animal is in the park, even in an urban area. If it was a cougar, they don't see humans as prey, they more afraid of us than anything. But if threatened, they could attack.