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Oregon Tracking Lion That May Pose Threat

April 22, 2009.

From the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife:

State and federal wildlife officials are pursuing a cougar that was seen in the Corvallis City limits on three occasions since Friday and is considered a possible threat to human safety.

Representatives of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and USDA Wildlife Services are tracking what they believe is a young cougar that was seen Friday, Saturday and Sunday in a northwest Corvallis neighborhood. On one of those occasions, the cougar mauled a domestic cat whose injuries were confirmed by a local veterinarian. The attack took place 300 yards from Wilson Elementary School.

“The cougar has lost its wariness of humans,” said Nancy Taylor, district wildlife biologist for ODFW’s South Willamette Watershed District. Taylor is working with Landon Schacht from USDA Wildlife Services to capture and remove the animal. “We want people to be aware that there is a problem cat in the area and take the appropriate precautions,” she said.

Problem cougars as those that appear to be accustomed to human activity, are visible during daylight hours in close proximity to houses and people, and attack pets. The cougar seen in Corvallis fits this profile, according to Taylor, which is why ODFW and Wildlife Services are moving aggressively to control the animal.

“We have a responsibility to protect the public when a cougar becomes a human safety concern,” she said.

Oregon is home to more than 5,000 cougars. There has never been a documented case of a cougar attacking a person in Oregon, though it has occurred in other states. ODFW recommends that people familiarize themselves with precautions they can take to avoid conflicts these animals.

These precautions include the following:

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Keep children close and teach them about wildlife
  • Don’t leave food and garbage outside
  • Feed pets indoors and keep them inside at night
  • Remove heavy brush from near the house and play areas
  • Install motion-activated outdoor lights
  • Keep areas around bird feeders clean

In the unlikely event that a person encounters a cougar, ODFW recommends saying calm, maintaining direct eye contact, raising your voice and backing away slowly. In the very unusual event that a cougar attacks, fight back with rocks, sticks tools or any items available.

A detailed list of precautionary measures is posted on ODFW’s Web site under the Living with Wildlife section at the following URL:

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/living-with-cougars.asp


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