Cougar appears on trail camera northwest of Thunder Bay, Ont.


There has been another cougar photographed just outside of Thunder Bay, Ont.

On Monday evening, an adult cougar showed up on trail camera owned by Adam Massaro.

Massaro said he normally has a lot of lynx on his property, located five kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay in Kaministiquia, but he had never seen a cougar.

“I was walking down to check my trail cam [Wednesday night],” Massaro said, “and I noticed the cat tracks in the snow and they looked quite a bit bigger than a lynx. So I sent a picture of them to my fiance as a joke and said ‘maybe there is a cougar around’ and I checked the camera and yup, that’s what it was.”

Massaro said there is a good chance the cougar was looking for deer on his property, where he has a mineral block and some alfalfa out to feed the deer near the trail camera.

There are also often quite a few snowshoe hare showing on his camera, Massaro added.

“It looked like the cat might have got a rabbit, but it was hard to be sure,” he said. “It hung around for six minutes.”

Massaro said the cougar was just under 300 metres from his house.

This cougar appeared about 300 metres from Adam Massaro’s home in Kaministiquia, located just 5 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, Ont. (submitted photo: Adam Massaro)

“It actually walked close to my house,” he said. “It walked down the trail from my hunting stand area, then must have seen the house and took a 90 into the bush.”

Massaro shared nearly a dozen of the trail camera photos of the cougar with CBC News.

The cat appears around 8:31 p.m. on Monday, and is still hanging around at 8:36 p.m. The cougar is large, healthy and in several shots seems to be yawning.

There has been a flurry of cougar activity around Thunder Bay over the past few months.  

In November, two pictures of a cougar said to be from a trail camera near Lappe, a community northwest of Thunder Bay, made the rounds on social media, but they were unattributed.

Massaro said those pics from November were apparently taken not far from his home.

This cougar showed up on a trail camera southwest of Thunder Bay, Ont. on Dec 31, 2020. (From video supplied by Chris Maley)

On Dec. 31, Chris Maley had a cougar appear on his trail camera located near his home off Highway 61, southwest of Thunder Bay.

The 15-second video was clear and showed a large, mature cougar.

While Maley’s cougar video and Massaro’s trail cam pictures are rare confirmed examples, the presence of cougars in the northwest has been established.

When Thunder Bay’s Mandi Weist and friend found the dead cougar on March 25, 2017, it had porcupine quills embedded in its face. A pathologist later determined the cat died of starvation. (Supplied by Mandi Weist )

On March 25, 2017, the carcass of a cougar was found frozen in a snowbank on Boreal Road, northwest of Thunder Bay. The animal was emaciated and had likely died due to starvation. That cougar had a large number of porcupine quills in its snout, mouth and throat. It was the first confirmed wild cougar carcass found in Ontario.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry seized the carcass and had the animal tested. The DNA results showed it was closely related to animals from the region of the Black Hills of Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska.

The ministry said at the time that the animal found dead was not part of a resident cougar population in northern Ontario.

Cougars are considered an endangered species in the province.



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