An Oregon homeowner shot and killed a cougar that wildlife officials were hunting for after the creature reportedly killed two goats that were owned by nuns.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials told KPTV that the cougar was shot dead on June 6 in the Columbia River Gorge, the same day Angel’s Rest Trail was closed after several reported cougar sightings and one day after a cougar killed the goats near the trailhead.
The animals were owned by nuns at Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist.
The cougar also went into a house in the area on Tuesday, according to KGW. The cougar “showed little fear” of humans, deputies reported.
Pic of cougar pic.twitter.com/rlVL6RhVTN
— Mike Benner (@MikeBennerKGW) June 6, 2019
Wildlife officials sprung a trap using one of the dead goats and the homeowner saw the cougar in the trap late Thursday. The person then shot the cougar.
The nuns had given the homeowner permission to kill the cougar if it returned to their land, reported KPTV.
Officials believe the cougar that was killed is the same one that killed the goats and also said they wouldn’t press charges against the homeowner because the cougar attacked livestock before being killed.
Rick Swart, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman, told The Oregonian that the bite marks on the goat were a close match to the teeth of the cougar that was killed.
#BreakingNews – late this evening a homeowner along Historic Columbia River Hwy shot & killed a cougar, at this point it’s unclear if it’s THE cougar that killed two pet goats and went into a home. Residents in area urged to remain vigilant pic.twitter.com/pgOmsNjgUi
— Mike Benner (@MikeBennerKGW) June 7, 2019
Biologists said the cougar was a 2-year-old female.
People who live in the area said they were not surprised that the goats were attacked.
“I was always surprised they haven’t been attacked before, so it’s really no surprise at all,” Matt Sund, referring to livestock in the area, told KGW.
Angel’s Rest Trail re-opened on Friday.
Currently there is a live trap set to capture and remove the cougar from the area. pic.twitter.com/GY1H427Bsk
— Multnomah Co Sheriff (@MultCoSO) June 6, 2019
Cougars in Oregon
According to the department, more than 6,000 cougars live in Oregon. Cougars are also known as mountain lions.
“Native to Oregon, cougars range throughout the state, the highest densities occur in the Blue Mountains in the northeastern part of the state and in the southwestern Cascade Mountains. Their primary food source is deer, but they will also consume elk, raccoons, bighorn sheep, and other mammals and birds. Cougars are territorial animals and maintain home ranges of up to 100 miles. Most active at dawn and dusk, cougars are lone hunters. They are generally solitary animals, except for mothers who remain with kittens for about two years,” the department stated.
“While actual cougar sightings have increased, coyotes, bobcats, and dogs are often mistaken for cougars. A cougar can be identified by its large size, cat-like appearance, consistent tan or tawny body color, and long tail. An adult cougar’s tail is nearly three feet long and a third to a half of its total length. Cougar tracks can be differentiated from dog tracks by paying attention to detail.”
People living in cougar country should take precautions including avoiding walking pets in the dark or at dawn or dusk, feeding pets indoors, using animal-proof garbage cans, deer-proofing their garden, and fencing livestock and moving livestock to sheds or barns each night.
People hiking or doing other activities in areas known to be frequented by cougars should leave their dogs at home or keep them on a leash, hike in groups, keep children close by, store food in animal-proof containers, never feed or approach wildlife, and be alert when sitting quietly, especially at dawn and dusk.