Cougar sighting in Ashland

Ashland, Ore.- Ashland police have a message for the community, after a cougar was spotted over the weekend.

“Stay away from the animal, if it really concerns you give APD a call,” Lieutenant Hector Meletich with the Ashland Police Department said. “Don’t approach it, there is no reason to approach it.”

Police say a resident found a dead deer on her property and reported seeing the cat near Hargadine Street.

The cougar sighting has some nearby residents worried.

“It makes me concerned and I think people need to be careful,” Laura, an Ashland resident said. “I might hesitate until they know what’s going on walking on Hargardine by myself at night for sure, or at dusk.”

If you see a cougar, Wildlife Biologist Steve Niemela offers these tips.

“Try and make yourself look big, you don’t want to look like a prey item,” he said. “Look the animal directly in the eye, say something to the animal, and it’s probably going to go away.

Niemela adds after shouting loudly, back away from the animal slowly, and don’t run.

While Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife say calls about cougars are fairly common in Southern Oregon, relocating the animal is usually not best.

“Doesn’t matter how far you move them away, they’re still going to find their way back to where they came from.” Niemela said. “The other thing is, if you’re having safety issues with an animal and you move it somewhere else, you’ve just moved an animal that’s potentially a threat into someone else’s backyard.”

If cougars do appear to be a threat, ODFW says they’ll be forced to euthanize it. The agency is hoping this cat will simply move on.

Oregon doesn’t have any recorded cougar attacks on people, still, it’s important to give the predator plenty of distance if you see one. And be sure to call 911, as well as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

NBC5 News reporter Karen Tang graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in communications and a master’s in journalism.

Before coming to Medford, Karen was an intern at WUSA9 and NBC News Channel in Washington D.C.

During her time in Maryland, Karen was an NCAA Division I student-athlete on the Maryland gymnastics team. She competed against Big Ten universities and made the Big Ten All-Championship team.

When Karen isn’t reporting, she’s at the gym working out, taking pictures with her dog Boomer and searching for the best food in Southern Oregon.

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