Cougar sighting in Duvall concerns some residents

May 31, 2023, 3:17 PM

Cougar sighting Duvall...

A cougar sighting in Duvall has residents on alert after the big cat was seen by a homeowner last week near Big Rock Field. (City of Duvall/Twitter)

(City of Duvall/Twitter)

A cougar sighting in Duvall has residents on alert after the big cat was seen by a homeowner last week near Big Rock Field.

“It was kind of a surprise, but you do see them once in a while — more so now than in the past,” Steven Leniszewski, Duval’s Public Works Director, said. “We have trail cameras around and it’s just very exciting to see gorgeous animals, but very terrifying at the same time.”

Leniszewski said if you do see wildlife, never approach them and always bring your pets in. He advises people to check out the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) website for more information.

“Cougars themselves are not rare in Washington state,” Jennifer Bakar of the DFW said. “The population of cougars in the state is currently healthy.”

Bakar wanted to remind residents that cougar habitat can often overlap with human-populated areas.

From 2022: Young girl survives cougar attack in northeast Washington, recovers in hospital

That being said, “Seeing a cougar is quite a unique experience. As many people know. Cougars are quite secretive, kind of cryptic animals. They prefer not to be seen if they can help it.”

She explained that they have a very large home range.

“As the human population in Washington increases, so do these interactions with wildlife. And that’s true of a variety of different wildlife species, from your deer and raccoons, to your bears and cougars,” Bakar said. “What we are seeing is a higher percentage of reporting, because folks have things like their Ring doorbell cameras, or their security cameras around their property, or even trail cameras that they might have set up on larger acreage. So we are getting multiple reports of these animals.”

What do you do if you see a cougar?

“If you find a cougar in your backyard, either stay inside or get indoors would be the first step,” Bakar continued. “In most cases, the cougar is just passing through. And more likely than not that cougar is going to move on without incident. In cases when we have conflicts with humans and cougars, it’s often because that cougar has determined that there’s a reliable food source at that person’s property.”

Bakar said cougar attacks on humans are very rare. In Washington, there have been two fatal cougar attacks in the last 100 years, as well as 19 other recorded encounters that resulted in human injury.

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Cougar sighting in Duvall concerns some residents