Coyote or Cougar: Cape May NJ Police Advises About Coyotes in Area
I continue to receive emails from people claiming to have seen mountain lions or cougars from throughout New Jersey - including at least two reports of the animals being seen in the area of the Cape May Airport.
Well get to some of those eye-witness accounts shortly, but first, here's some information from the Cape May Police Department:
The Cape May Police department has issued a statement about coyotes in the area. Here's what they've said on Facebook:
Just a week or two ago, I received a report from a local resident claiming to have seen a mountain lion or cougar in the area of the Cape May Airport on the evening of January 30, 2023:
"I think we just saw a cougar down by the Cape May Airport on Breakwater Road. No photo evidence because it was dark. But two drive-bys - it looked like a cat shape. My initial thought was a coyote at glance but it had the facial markings of a cougar. Went for a third pass by and another truck had stopped with a flashlight and it was gone."
After that report, I received another email from someone who claims to have seen something similar in the same area. This email account is from someone we'll refer to as "A":
"My fiance and I were headed to work on January 2nd in between 4:30-4:45 am. Of course, it was dark.....but as we were passing the field where the airplanes land at the edge where the fence ends heading towards Erma Deli, this thing came and leaped from one side of the road all the way clear across the headlights to the other side of the road. We were amazed at what we saw this large cat figure, tan in color. The way it leaped you could tell it wasn't any normal animal that we have seen, as we travel this road five days a week. The graceful leap was not anything that could be a dog or deer. It had a long sleek tail. And it was too big to be a bobcat or lynx. It didn't struggle one bit to get across the road and continued to run into the woods on the other side."
So, did these two witnesses see a cougar - or was it "just a coyote."
Another recent email - and a video - was sent to me by Lauren Laughlin. Lauren says she observed this animal - a coyote - the night of January 30, the same night and in the same area where an animal was observed by the first witness quoted above.
Laughlin says she made this video at land leased by Cape May Vineyards, on Shunpike Road near Ferry Road.
So are there coyotes and a mountain lion in the area? Or are people mistakenly seeing coyotes, thinking there are seeing mountain lions?
We know that coyotes are now all over South Jersey, and the rest of the state. Mountain lions or cougars? Lots of sightings, but no official confirmations.
Do you think you've seen a mountain lion in New Jersey? I'd love to hear your story: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're interested in reading other accounts of cougars and mountain lions, they can be found here.
By the way, among all the emails I've been getting, one recent email I received was about a bear. "P" writes that she spotted a bear crossing over the Garden State Parkway near Exit 4 about a year ago. Bears are certainly possible as the Division of Fish and Wildlife is on record as saying bears have migrated to and have been reported in every county in New Jersey.