In the wee hours on Monday, 8/1, footage was caught on a resident’s Ring Cam of a cougar walking through their front yard. A report has been filed with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which was forwarded to local officers. The report is a good first step in helping keep the community safe, but there are no guarantees that DFW will remove the animal from our community. Per WDFW, avoiding conflict or negative interactions with any type of wildlife is all about preventing a problem before it occurs. Some strategies to keep yourself, your family, and pets safe are noted below.
If you spot a cougar in the neighborhood, please take a moment to report to the WDFW at the number provided.
Upland Green BOD
Strategies around your property to prevent a negative interaction (edited to align specifically with Upland Green):
• If you have pets, the first step is evaluate your pet-keeping practices. In most situations that WDFW responds to, owners fail to properly secure their pets in an enclosed space at night. Remember, Upland Green Rules & Regs prohibit household pets in common facilities and tracts unless they are on a leash and properly licensed, including house cats.
• Keeping pets in enclosed buildings at night (from dusk to dawn) is the best way to avoid a negative interaction and to coexist with cougars and other carnivores that share our habitats. And remember to periodically inspect and maintain your fence.
• It is extremely important that you deter other wildlife like deer from your property at all times. Do not intentionally or unintentionally feed or shelter wildlife of any kind because you may actually attract carnivores that follow these animals and depend on them to survive. This includes avoiding plantings that deer may like to eat, especially in winter when animals move to lower elevations closer to people.
• Another preventative way to deter conflict is to install a mixture of outdoor lights and motion detection lights. Placing these lights around your walkways and homes tends to make wildlife uncomfortable and stay in forested areas where they are safer.
If you encounter a cougar here are some things to remember:
• Appear as large as possible. Get above the animal (e.g., step up onto a rock or stump). If wearing a jacket, hold it open to further increase your apparent size. If you are in a group, stand shoulder-to-shoulder to appear intimidating.
• Make noise. Shout loudly and clap your hands repeatedly. Making loud sounds is something prey would never do and that discourages an escalation.
• Act like a predator yourself. Maintain eye contact and never run past or away. Aggressively wave your raised arms, throw stones or branches, all without turning away.
• Slowly create distance. Consider whether you may be between the animal and its offspring, or between the animal and its prey or cache. Back slowly to a spot that gives the animal a path to get away, never turning away from the animal. Give the animal the time and ability to move away.
• Protect yourself. If attacked, fight back. Use any kind of weapon like rocks, tree branches, walking sticks, backpacks and even fists to turn the animal away. Pepper spray is also an effective deterrent.
If you need more information call WDFW at 360-902-2200, or to file a report with WILDCOMM at 360-902-2936, Opt. 1.