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Cougar Sightings Prompt Warnings - And Tips- From Oregon Wildlife Officials

Oregon State University

In the last few weeks, there have been roughly a dozen cougar sightings across Lane County.  As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, wildlife officials are urging locals to keep calm.

The big cats have been sighted in several areas around Eugene-Springfield, including near a school bus stop on Spencer Butte.

Many residents are understandably nervous about possible threats towards humans. Marianne Brooks, a biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, offers this assurance.

“To date, we have never had a confirmed cougar attack in Oregon.” 

Brooks says cougars are usually solitary animals, and appear during dawn and dusk. 

She says the number of sightings isn't unusual, given the warmer weather and more people being outside.  She says if someone comes across a cougar…

“You don’t want to turn around and run," begins Brooks. "Stay calm and stand your ground, and back away, slowly. 

"Speak firmly, raise your hands, try to be as big and loud as you can, and usually if they see you – unless any large animal has young with them – they’ll pretty much take the escape route.” 

Credit kemorgan65 / Flickr.com

Brooks also says to keep your pets on a short leash. It keeps them from running into cougars, and possibly racing back towards owners with a big cat chasing close behind.

Copyright 2017, KLCC. 

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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