A large cougar has been seen in the wooded area between Makarenko Park in Cosmopolis and the Lake Swano Trail at Grays Harbor College. A message sent to college students yesterday said that the cougar was seen Monday along the fence line that parallels Glencoe Way in Cosmopolis. The college warned students to exercise extreme caution on the trails or avoid them all together.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has been notified of the sighting.

Scott Harris, a Wildlife Conflict Specialist for our area says if you spot a cougar, first make sure you are at a safe distance and not in danger, then contact his office in Montesano at 360-249-4628 to report the sighting directly to them.

“Do’s and Don’ts” in Cougar Country

While recreating in cougar habitat, you should:

  1. Hike in small groups and make enough noise to avoid surprising a cougar.
  2. Keep your camp clean and store food and garbage in double plastic bags.
  3. Keep small children close to the group, preferably in plain sight just ahead of you.
  4. Do not approach dead animals, especially deer or elk; they could have been cougar prey left for a later meal.

If you encounter a cougar:

  1. Stop, stand tall and don’t run. Pick up small children. Don’t run. A cougar’s instinct is to chase.
  2. Do not approach the animal, especially if it is near a kill or with kittens.
  3. Try to appear larger than the cougar. Never take your eyes off the animal or turn your back. Do not crouch down or try to hide.
  4. If the animal displays aggressive behavior, shout, wave your arms and throw rocks. The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger.
  5. If the cougar attacks, fight back aggressively and try to stay on your feet. Cougars have been driven away by people who have fought back.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife responds to cougar and bear sightings when there is a threat to public safety or property. If it is an emergency, dial 911.

If you experience a cougar or black bear problem, and it is not an emergency, contact the nearest regional Department of Fish and Wildlife office between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. In King County, the number to call is (425)775-1311.

If you need to report a non-emergency problem when Department of Fish and Wildlife offices are closed, contact the Washington State Patrol or nearest law enforcement agency by calling the non-emergency dispatch number (360) 533-8765.