Man comes eye to eye with cougar in west Omaha

Posted at 6:15 PM, Mar 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-03 21:37:14-05
Residents in one west Omaha neighborhood say a cougar appeared on a backyard patio.
Neighbors say they heard the big cat screaming early Thursday morning.
They thought someone was being attacked.
"I heard screaming, their last scream of their last breath like they're going to die. ...It's pretty scary," said Don McDonough.
McDonough lives next door to where a man says he came eye to eye with the animal near 123rd and Farnam. 
"I thought it was someone screaming their last scream,” McDonough said. “I thought somebody was attacking somebody outside."
A man told our news partners at the Omaha world herald that they heard the screaming at about 6:30 Thursday morning, opened their blinds and saw a mountain lion cornering a domestic cat.
The lion supposedly ran towards a small creek in West Fairacres Park.
"Documenting a mountain lion in the Omaha area is very rare,” said Sam Wilson, Nebraska Game and Parks carnivore manager. “It's happened twice in the city limits and once near Gretna since we first documenting mountain lions returning to Omaha in 1991."
Despite an eyewitness, Wilson says they don't have enough evidence to consider Thursday’s sighting officially documented.
That doesn’t mean the lion wasn’t there, Wilson said.
"It's often unlikely for the males to find a female so they live a life of a wanderer, moving multiple miles per day," Wilson said.
Regardless of whether a cougar is prowling west Omaha, McDonough says the neighborhood is on alert.
"I hope they find it before it finds a person or a little kid,” he said.
Mountain lions are usually quiet animals, Wilson said.
It’s rare for someone to hear them scream, he said.
When they scream, it’s usually to find a mate.