PRINEVILLE, OR -- Oregon's Fish and Wildlife Commission meets Friday in Crook County to discuss the state's cougar population and management plan. ODFW's Michelle Dennehy tells KBND News, "The last time the plan was updated was 2006. And the plan doesn't really have any major management changes for cougars, but it does have more Oregon-specific research including a genetics and habitat analysis."
"We really manage cougars for coexistence," says Dennehy. "If people have an issue with a cougar, we're really trying to stress preventative measures to take; things like, 'keep your pets indoors at night.'" She says there has never been a documented fatal attack on a human by a cougar in Oregon, "But, numerous fatal and non-fatal attacks have occurred in western U.S. states since the early 1990s."
The cougar population remains fairly stable, with only slight increases in the number of animals seen in northeastern Oregon, "We have a very healthy cougar population here in Oregon and we estimate it at 6,400 animals." Dennehy says, "I think something for people to keep in mind is, if you do see a cougar in the wild, you should chalk that up as an amazing experience and nothing to be alarmed about."
Friday's cougar meeting begins at 8 a.m. at the Crook County Fairgrounds in Prineville. Click HERE for more information. On Thursday, the Commission will tour the Bowman Dam, Opal Springs and other local waterways to discuss fish passage.