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News / Life / Clark County Life

Cougar caught on camera at 137th and Padden Parkway in Orchards

WDFW officials say there is little danger to the public

By Dylan Jefferies, Columbian staff writer
Published: May 14, 2024, 3:41pm

A cougar was spotted in a residential area near Padden Parkway and Northeast 137th Avenue in Orchards this weekend.

Wildlife is making itself known in Clark County as spring weather entices animals out of their winter hidey-holes.

During this time of year, cougars and bears from in nearby forests go exploring for food, occasionally following trails and greenways into suburban and even urban areas.

Video footage from a Ring Home Security Camera provided by a reader shows a large cougar casually strolling across the homeowner’s property and into the yard early Sunday morning.

A cougar was sited on a Ring camera in the Orchards area on Sunday morning. Map

But officials with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife say not to worry. Cougars rarely interact with humans, and attacks on humans are extremely rare — only two people have been killed by cougars in Washington since 1924.

Cougar sightings in Southwest Washington are not quite as rare. In Clark County this year, there have been 10 reports of cougars, with one confirmed sighting, according to Fish and Wildlife. In 2023, there were 49 reports of cougars, with just three confirmed sightings.

While sightings are rare, there are still things people can do to stay safe, according to Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Britton Ransford.

“Cougars follow their prey, so they go wherever deer exist,” Ransford said. “Cougars are a part of our ecosystem, and they will overlap with humans.”

The same strategies apply to cougar and bear encounters: Be big, noisy and scary. Don’t run, crouch or try to hide. Instead, back away slowly while keeping your eyes on the big cat.

“If you see one, don’t run, because running and rapid movements trigger an animal to chase and attack an individual,” Ransford said. “Face the cougar, talk to it firmly, slowly back away and leave the animal an escape route.”

Additionally, Ransford recommended that people look into ways to modify their homes to discourage wildlife, such as keeping the exterior of your home well-lit, making sure garbage lids are tightly secured and closing off spaces under garages and car ports.

Residents also shouldn’t leave pets outside unsupervised, Ransford said.

Cougars are the largest members of the cat family found in Washington, and they live throughout the state wherever suitable cover and prey are found.

Adult male cougars roam widely, covering a home range of 50 to 150 square miles, depending on the age of the cougar, the time of year, the type of terrain and availability of prey.

Cougars are mostly nocturnal, but it is not unusual for cougars to hunt anytime during the day.

Cougars hiss, purr, mew, growl, yowl, chirp and cry, according to Fish and Wildlife. However, their most notorious sounds are the eerie wailings and moans heard at night during mating season. Such wails have been likened to a child crying, a woman’s scream and the screeching of someone in terrible pain.