The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has confirmed the sighting of a cougar in Wayne County on property located in an area between Linden and the county seat of Waynesboro.
A trail camera captured the cat's image on Sept. 4 and the agency, as it does when it receives reports accompanied by credible evidence, began investigating the report.
"We often get asked what it means if we confirm the documentation of a cat in an area where we haven't seen one before," said Joy Sweaney, a wildlife biologist with TWRA and head of the agency's Cougar Action Team.
"Most likely they are repeated sightings of an individual cougar, as they can travel long distances in a short period of time. However, there is no way of knowing for sure if it is the same individual or a new arrival."
The wildlife agency has confirmed eight sightings since September 2015, with the previous five confirmations in Humphreys County. This is the first documented sighting in Wayne County.
A list of Tennessee confirmed cougar sightings can be found on TWRA's website at www.tnwildlife.org.
Other states surrounding Tennessee are also confirming the presence of western cougars, which have been expanding their range for years.
"We suspect that cougars are expanding from western populations as there have been many recently documented sightings in Arkansas and Missouri," noted Sweaney.
There are no hunting seasons established on cougars in Tennessee. Anyone sighting a cougar, especially accompanied by supporting evidence, is asked to contact the TWRA. Telephone numbers and email address are listed on the agency's website.