Missing Oregon Hiker Found Dead Likely Killed by Cougar: Officials

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
September 13, 2018US News

A female hiker who went missing in Oregon before being found dead was likely killed by a cougar, officials said this week.

Diana Bober, 55, was last seen on Aug. 29. Her body was discovered on Sept. 10, along the Hunchback Trail in the Mt. Hood National Forest.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said that the sheriff and other officials believe Bober was killed by a cougar. If correct, it would be the first time in state history that a human was attacked by a cougar in the wild. A woman was killed by a cougar in Oregon in 2013 but that death occurred at the WildCat Haven sanctuary near Sherwood.

Every Indication Points to Cougar Attack

Brian Wolfer, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife’s watershed manager, said at a press conference on Sept. 11 that DNA test results are expected back soon, but that every indication points to a cougar killing Bober.

An autopsy determined the wounds found on Bober were caused by a large animal, the sheriff said.

“Because this is an unprecedented event in Oregon we don’t believe that the threat to the public that’s posed by cougars is any greater today than it was yesterday,” Wolfer said, reported KVAL. “However, we don’t know and can’t quantify the threat that this particular animal may pose to the public.”

An estimated 6,600 cougars live in Oregon, and are known to prey on livestock and pets but practically never approach humans.

Hunt for Cougar Begins

A search for the cougar that is believed to have killed Bober was set to commence on Sept. 13, with extensive groundwork laid on Sept. 12.

Wolfer told Fox 12 that remote communications were installed in the area since there’s no cell or radio service, while trees were cleared so mules could be utilized to move people and equipment in.

The area where Bober died is several hours away on foot from parking. Hounds were brought in to track the scent of the cougar. Cougars roam widely, with males having a territory of up to 150 miles.

Any cougar that is found will be killed and DNA testing will be conducted to try to confirm if they caught the right one, Wolfer said.

“We really don’t have a way that we can capture and hold a cougar and wait for test results to come back, and especially in that terrain, that’s just not an option for us,” Wolfer said.

“We are not looking to kill an indiscriminate number of cougars, we are really focused on targeting the area of the attack and then as we need to, we can expand out from there.”

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