Last week, after a landowner’s goats and chickens were killed by a cougar, ODFW trapped and euthanized an adult female cougar. While the female was not lactating and did not have kittens, wildlife biologists routinely look for young cougars whenever a female is trapped.
Two days after the adult female was captured, biologists discovered fresh cougar tracks at the location of the livestock damage. A cage trap was set and a 40-pound young male was trapped late last week and euthanized today.
A trail camera also revealed the presence of second young cougar. This second cougar entered the empty coop where the chickens had been killed last weekend. A trap will remain set for several days should the second young cougar return to this area.
ODFW regularly places cougar kittens in zoos and other Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facilities thanks to our partnership with the Oregon Zoo in Portland. However, ODFW State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Colin Gillin observed the cougar’s behavior in captivity and believes the cougar was not a good candidate for captivity.
“Cougars at this age are already accustomed to living in the wild and are not good candidates for captive environments,” explained Gillin.
Under Oregon Revised Statute 498.012, landowners experiencing damage may kill the offending cougar without a permit from ODFW. In this situation, ODFW was concerned not just about livestock damage but about potential pet and human safety issues due to the cougars’ proximity to the city park.
“These cougars were living in an area of high public use and were hunting near residences and structures,” said Brian Wolfer, ODFW district wildlife biologist in Springfield. “Further, although the landowner had a legal right to shoot the cougars, the property’s proximity to the park raised concerns that shooting might not be safe.
Hikers and other park users should remember to keep their dogs on a leash, as the remaining cougar could still be in the area,” added Wolfer.
ODFW does not relocate cougars, as relocation would create territorial conflicts among existing cougar populations and could also spread disease. Further, ODFW would not relocate a cougar killing livestock, as the cougar is likely to repeat this behavior elsewhere.
More information about Oregon’s cougars.