LAKE CHELAN - The cougar you see peering into a home through a glass window in the photo above is local.
The photo above was taken at a home on Chelan’s south shore on Friday night. Lately, more people have reported had close encounters with these large predators, so much so, that it’s piquing the interest of local officials.
Residents have reported several cougar sightings around Chelan in urban areas.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says cougars are the largest members of the cat family in Washington with adult males average approximately 140 pounds but in a perfect situation may weigh 180 pounds and measure 7-8 feet long from nose to tip of tail.
Cougars occur throughout Washington where suitable cover and prey are found. Wildlife officials state Wildlife offices throughout the state receive hundreds of calls a year regarding sightings, attacks on livestock and pets, and cougar/human confrontations.
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.
If you encounter a cougar, here are some important tips from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:
- Stop, stand tall and don't run. Pick up small children. Don't run. A cougar's instinct is to chase.
- Do not approach the animal, especially if it is near a kill or with kittens.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.