Cougar sighting reported in Talent city limits

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TALENT, Ore. – It’s another day, and another cougar sighting has been reported in an urban area of Jackson County.

The Talent Police Department said a cougar was reportedly seen at about 10:30 Sunday night near the Oak Valley Subdivision and the Bear Creek Greenway. A dog is believed to have chased the cougar into a ravine. An officer responded to the area, but couldn’t find anything.

This is just one of many cougar sightings reported in the Talent-Ashland area recently. According to the Ashland Police Department, they’ve received eight reports of big cats within city limits within the past three weeks.

In one instance, a cougar apparently killed a deer, leaving the remains well within public view. Prior to that, a pair of cougars was seen on the campus of Southern Oregon University. One of them refused to leave the area until an officer shot at the cat. The shot missed, and the cougar left the area.

Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara said residents shouldn’t be too concerned, but they should still exercise caution. “I think that they should be aware,” he said. “I wouldn’t characterize it as ‘be concerned’ and I certainly don’t think anybody needs to be leery about going outside.”

Police say if you see a cougar you shouldn’t run, make yourself look big, pick up children or pets and be loud to scare it away.

Both police and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife also ask that you report any sightings.

On November 5, Ashland police said they’re still working on a mapping system to track cougar sightings that will be accessible to the public.

The Oregon Department of Fish and wildlife has the following guidelines when encountering a cougar:

Cougars often will retreat if given the opportunity. Always leave the animal a way to escape. Stay calm and stand your ground. Maintain direct eye contact. Pick up any children, but do so without bending down or turning your back on the cougar. Back away slowly. Do not run. Running triggers a response in cougars which could lead to an attack. Raise your voice and speak firmly. If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to make yourself look larger and clap your hands. If in the very unusual event that a cougar attacks you, fight back with rocks, sticks, garden tools or any other items available.

For more information, you can view the entire flyer at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/docs/CougarBroch.pdf

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