The most recent reports came Thursday.
A woman notified the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife office that she saw a large cat drinking from a pool on Bosworth Avenue NE in Plain Township around 9:30 a.m.
Local police and Stark County sheriff’s deputies, as well as the ODNR wildlife officer, have received “dozens and dozens of calls” reporting a mountain lion roaming the area, said Jamey Graham, ODNR spokeswoman.
“We still have received no concrete evidence to even prove it exists. It’s a matter of weeding out what sightings are most legitimate,” Graham said. “There’s been no evidence of anybody missing a cat. No one has come forward.”
Still, she said, “I don’t want to discount people’s reports. But without any concrete evidence, we can only speculate on anything at this point.”
Calls started coming in on Monday that a mountain lion was seen near Millvale Avenue NE in Canton. The nearby Fairhope Nature Preserve off Lesh Avenue NE in Canton remains closed as a precaution.
Other reports of mountain lion sightings have come in from the following locations:
• Saturday in North Canton’s Price Park. The man didn’t report it until Wednesday.
• At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday on Beck Avenue NE in Nimishillen Township-Louisville area.
• At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday around Broadway Avenue NE and Route 30 in the East Canton area.
• About 1 p.m. Wednesday in the 100 block of Easthill Street SE in North Canton.
• ODNR received a report of a sighting near Fairhope School in Louisville near Broadway later Wednesday.
• A resident on Rosewood Circle SE in North Canton told police on Thursday that she saw a large cat in her backyard at about 9 a.m. on Monday. Rosewood Circle runs parallel to Easthill Street SE.
Graham said that no cougar tracks have been identified, no cougar feces has been found and no one has been able to supply photos of a cougar seen in this area.
“We have received an awful lot of reports,” Graham said. “That’s all we can depend on right now.”
Anyone who sees a cougar is still urged to contact police or sheriff’s deputies, she said.
ONE MAN’S STORY
A Wayne County man said he saw a cougar in the early evening hours of May 27. “I couldn’t believe it,” said Rudy Cooper of Secrest Road in the Wooster area. “It’s not every day you’re driving down the road and something like that runs in front of you. It was a big cat. One hop and it was across the road. It was moving.” Cooper said he was driving off of Route 30 at Canal and Honeytown roads when he spotted the creature. Cooper said he hunts morels or mushrooms in southern Ohio and he often comes across deer, turkey and bobcats. “But this thing was huge,” he said. “I put my hand on the Bible: That was a cougar or a mountain lion.”