Three cougars shot and killed by police in recent days were dispatched because they threatened human safety.
Social media lit up with questions about why the cougars weren’t captured and relocated.
Central Oregon Daily News asked why authorities made the decision to kill the three big cats.
Authorities confirm the shooting and killing of three cougars by Oregon State Police over the weekend was an unusual occurrence.
One of the shootings happened on Hitching Post Lane in southwest Bend on Saturday, where the cougar was reported a few feet away from a home’s front porch.
“Attacking a pet or domestic animal… we saw that with the cougar in one of these places were attacking pets. A dead cat was found,” said Michelle Dennehy, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife public information officer. “Also, loss of wariness of people which typically you see when they are hanging around residential areas during the day.”
While it may be a thrill for some people to see a cougar in broad daylight and close to homes, it is not natural.
Dennehy says such behavior indicates cougars have lost their natural fear of humans and is a recipe for conflict that ends poorly for pet cats, dogs and livestock.
“We do not relocate those cougars because the concern is they’ll just come back and continue to exhibit those behaviors or, if you move them to a new area, they’ll just do it there.”
Oregon statutes allow people to use lethal force against cougars that threaten human safety.
Any cougar shot and killed over concern for human safety must be turned in for examination.
Biologists study the carcass, particularly the teeth, to determine a cougar’s age, health and diet.
ODFW estimates there are more than 6,000 cougars in the wild across the state. The cougar population is increasing.
In the cases of the recent cougar killings in Bend and Sisters, all three animals were determined to be threats because they were so close to homes.
All of Central Oregon is cougar country.
Basically anywhere you see deer, there are cougar around.
Normally, cougars hunt at night.
If you see them during the day anywhere near homes, that is cause for concern.