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Aug. 15, 2022

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Two cougar sightings confirmed in Cowlitz County in last 30 days

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LONGVIEW — At least two cougars have been spotted near Cowlitz County neighborhoods this month, according to the state department of fish and wildlife.

Between July 8 and July 19, eight sightings have been reported to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s incident report map.

Seven of those reports came from Longview residents. At least two have been confirmed as cougars roaming near Beacon Hill and Cedar Place earlier this month. WDFW does not classify the sightings as a risk to human safety.

Another possible cougar sighting in the county was reported July 11 on the border of near Woodland and was unconfirmed as of Wednesday.

Cougars are more likely to end up in residential areas if there are vulnerable livestock or deer, according to the department.

In the last 30 days, WDFW found more than a dozen cougars across the state have been killing and attacking farm animals, with one in Lewis County near Randle and another near Centralia.

Wildlife officials handle confirmed sightings differently depending on how the animal behaves or whether it poses a public safety risk.

In several incidents across the state, WDFW decided to trap, relocate or kill the animal. Officials last week in rural Skamania County killed three cougars after multiple reported sightings and possible human safety risk, according to its incident map.

State law justifies someone to kill wildlife on their property if it hurts domestic animals.

According to WDFW’s wildlife information webpage “cougar attacks on humans are extremely rare,” and some sightings are false alarms. On July 19, a resident near Vancouver reported seeing a cougar in the area; WDFW confirmed it was a house cat.

The department recommends making sure all livestock are kept safely confined and that all garbage can lids are completely shut. For hikers and campers, the department recommends staying in groups, hike in the daytime, keep a clean camp and keep aware of surroundings.

A guide for livestock owners about how to coexist with cougars can be found on the WDFW’s cougar information site.

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