State and county officials say that an Oregon woman who had not been seen since late August and was reported missing last Friday was most likely killed by a cougar.
The body of Diana Bober of Gresham was discovered off a trail southwest of Mt. Hood yesterday and an autopsy was performed today.
“Every indication is that a cougar is responsible,” ODFW wildlife biologist Brian Wolfer said during a press conference with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office that was streamed live over Facebook this afternoon.
DNA has been flown to the USFWS forensic lab in Ashland for testing.
Wolfer said it was a “tragic and unprecedented event,” and is believed to be the first in state history that resulted in the loss of a human life.
It’s also the second fatal mountain lion attack in the Northwest just this year.
The other occurred near North Bend, Washington, where a bicyclist was taken down and their riding partner was also attacked.
That animal was immediately tracked down and killed and initially reported as underweight, but a Washington State University lab found “no abnormalities” in its condition that would have led to the attack.
“We don’t believe that the threat to the public that is posed by cougars is any greater today than it was yesterday,” said Wolfer. “However, we don’t know and can’t quantify the threat that this particular animal may pose to the public. And so we’re making every effort along with our partner agencies to locate this animal so we can assure the safety of the public.”
The Hunchback Trail, where the attack occurred, has been closed for the time being.
Advice for dealing with a cougar encounter bears repeating. Per WDFW:
Stop, stand tall and don’t run. Pick up small children. Don’t run. A cougar’s instinct is to chase.
Do not approach the animal, especially if it is near a kill or with kittens.
Try to appear larger than the cougar. Never take your eyes off the animal or turn your back. Do not crouch down or try to hide.
If the animal displays aggressive behavior, shout, wave your arms and throw rocks. The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger.
If the cougar attacks, fight back aggressively and try to stay on your feet. Cougars have been driven away by people who have fought back.