THE FOLLOWING IS A WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE
A report by Washington State University (WSU) about the examination of the carcass of the cougar believed to be involved in the death of a bicyclist this spring near North Bend revealed no abnormalities that might have contributed to the animal’s unusual behavior, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said today.
The report by the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at WSU in Pullman was released today in response to public disclosure requests. The report is available on WDFW’s website athttps://wdfw.wa.gov/news/attach/jul1618a.pdf.
Dr. Kristin Mansfield, WDFW wildlife veterinarian, said the examination produced no significant findings to indicate why the cougar attacked the bicyclist and a companion on May 19.
She said wildlife managers are “highly confident” that the cougar was involved in the incident, because it was found so close to the attack site and because of the relatively low density of cougars in Washington. However, WDFW is awaiting the results of DNA analysis to confirm that conclusion. Those results are expected within the next month, she said.
Mansfield said the cougar was estimated to be about 3 years old. The animal was lean, but its weight and body condition fall within a normal range for a cougar of its age. She said the examination found no indication of rabies or other diseases that would pose a risk to humans.
Washington State University and a wolf and cougar researcher there are parting ways under a $300,000 settlement.
Rob Wielgus will resign as part of the deal in which neither party admits wrongdoing following an academic freedom lawsuit filed by the professor and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility against the school.
WSU’S ROB WIELGUS SPEAKS DURING A WOLF SYMPOSIUM. (YOUTUBE)
A brief statement from WSU said the money would come from the state.
Over the years, Wielgus garnered attention with his counterintuitive carnivore studies, and was a darling of wolf advocates with his research that appeared to show killing livestock-depredating wolves just resulted in more attacks.
But other researchers found lethal removals could yield different results, and Wielgus began to fall out of favor with some former allies following his summer 2016 claim that a Northeast Washington livestock producer had turned out his cattle “directly on top” of a wolf den but in fact were released 5 miles away and which led to a stunning rebuke from the university.
Subsequent articles by The Seattle Times detail tensions over Wielgus between ranching and political interests and university officials and programs.
In a PEER press release, Wielgus said WSU’s Large Carnivore Conservation Lab, which he headed up, will close.
PEER claimed that without the professor’s work, “Washington lacks a coherent, science-based wolf management policy.”
The lab’s listed assistant director is now WDFW’s statewide wolf specialist.