Tag Archives: cougar

No Room At The Dalles Hotel For Cougar

THE FOLLOWING IS AN OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE

A two-year-old male cougar that travelled all the way into downtown The Dalles and into a hotel complex was euthanized today after wildlife managers determined it was a public safety risk.

At 9:30 a.m. today, City of The Dalles Police responded to an incident at the Oregon Motor Motel downtown after reports of a wild animal within the complex. The animal was in a room under construction down a narrow walkway.

ODFW arrived at the scene at 9:45 a.m. The cougar was secured in a small room and ODFW was able to access the room through a vent in the wall. Staff sedated the animal with drugs administered via dart gun, and then transported the cougar off-site and euthanized it in a safe location.

The cougar had been spotted at this same location on March 18 in the evening, according to a Facebook post seen by ODFW staff.

Cougar sightings are not uncommon in the outskirts of The Dalles, especially this time of year when deer are on winter range just outside the city. “But a cougar coming this far into downtown, into the business district and deep into a hotel complex, and not showing fear of people or wariness of urban environments? That’s just extremely odd,” said Jeremy Thompson, ODFW district wildlife biologist. “This may have been a cougar that was unable to establish its own home range in its natural habitat.”

“Considering this cougar’s concerning behavior, it was deemed a public safety risk not suitable for relocation, and so it was euthanized,” said Thompson.

According to ODFW’s current records, today’s incident marks the sixth time in 2018 that a cougar has been euthanized due to public safety concerns. (A Silverton cougar was euthanized over the weekend.)

Under the state’s cougar management policy and state statutes, specific behaviors indicate that a cougar is a public safety risk. Those behaviors include attempting to break into a residence/structure and showing loss of wariness of humans.

ODFW does not relocate cougars that display these behaviors or cause agricultural damage. Cougars that have shown these behaviors and are relocated are likely to return to where they were causing problems in the first place and repeat the same behaviors, or repeat them in their new habitat. Further, because cougars are territorial, relocating cougars to new habitat can lead to conflict with other already established cougars, resulting in an animal’s injury or death.

Oregon has a healthy cougar population of approximately 6,400 statewide, up from just 200 in the 1960s when they were reclassified as a game mammal and protected in Oregon. Cougars, especially males, are extremely territorial. The need of some cougars to establish a home range could be driving them into urban and suburban areas.

For more information on cougars, including tips for coexisting, visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/cougars.asp

Wildlife Biologists ‘Gobsmacked’ By Size Of Northeast Washington Cougar

Wildlife biologists captured a huge cougar in Northeast Washington earlier this week.

BIOLOGISTS BART GEORGE AND BRIAN KERTSON POSE WITH THE TOM, WHICH WAS CAPTURED NORTH OF CHEWELAH EARLIER THIS WEEK. FOR REFERENCE, KERTSON IS SIX-FOOT-2 AND WEIGHS 250-PLUS POUNDS. (BRIAN KERTSON)

The 197-pound, 9-year-old male was tracked down, darted and collared for a research project studying how predators and prey, as well as wolves and lions, interact across the game-rich northern tier of the eastern half of the state.

(WDFW)

“He looked big in the tree. But it wasn’t until we had him on the ground that we were gobsmacked,” WDFW biologist Brian Kertson told outdoor reporter Eli Francovich of the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “We knew we had a monster but when we weighed him that’s when we just sort of went, ‘Wow.’ ”

Kertson told the scribe that as far as he knows it may have been the largest ever captured in Washington.

THE BIG TOM GLARES DOWN FROM THE GRAND FIR IT WAS TREED IN. (WDFW)

Kalispel Tribe wildlife biologist Bart George told Francovich it primarily dines on elk.

(WDFW)

According to WDFW, the average tom is 140 pounds, with a range of 120 to 190 pounds.

(WDFW)

Rising Cougar Numbers In Oregon Coast Range Spurs Alsea WMU Research Project

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

A few decades ago, cougars in the coast range were practically unheard of. But as Oregon’s healthy cougar population has expanded into northwest Oregon from population strongholds in the Blue Mountains and south Cascades, ODFW is observing  more cougar harvest, sightings and damage complaints along the coast.

(ODFW)

Researchers have studied cougar home range sizes, population densities and diet  in the Cascades and eastern Oregon, but not along the coast. A new study aims to change that through a research effort that will collar 10 adult cougars in  the Alsea Wildlife Management Unit, which includes parts of Lincoln and Benton counties.

ODFW will work with volunteer agents who have hounds to tree cougars in the study area so ODFW can immobilize them, take samples including blood and DNA, and get them fitted with a GPS collar. Location data collected from the collars will be used to calculate home range size and habitat selection.

Like similar research in other parts of the state, the study will also use scat detection dogs to refine a cougar population estimate for the unit and to analyze their diet. The scat provides DNA data used in capture-recapture models that estimate population size and density. The diet analysis provides important information on what percent of common prey items (deer, elk or small mammal) are making up area cougars’ diets.

Collaring of the cougars will begin this month and  will continue until 10 adults are collared or April 1, 2019.  Once a cougar is collared the GPS unit will collect location data for 17 months.

It is legal to harvest a collared cougar but ODFW prefers that hunters not shoot a cougar with a collar if possible. Hunters who do will need to contact ODFW and return the collar so the data can be retrieved and the collar reused, plus complete the normal check-in process that is required whenever a hunter takes a cougar or bear in Oregon.

“Better  data means better science based management decisions, and this data will help refine our cougar population estimates for this region,” says Jason Kirchner, district wildlife biologist in Newport. “This research will help ODFW manage for a viable population of cougars and assess effects on their prey populations, so we can improve management and conservation decisions for both cougars and ungulate species on the coast.”

Oregon’s statewide cougar population is estimated at 6,400. The Alsea Unit is part of Zone A, the Coast/North Cascades Zone, which has an estimated population of 950 cougars of all age classes.

The research is being funded through federal grants from the Wildlife Restoration Act and donations from Oregon Wildlife Foundation and the Oregon Hunters Association.