BEND, OR -- Ever since the state banned the use of dogs to track and hunt cougars, the big cat's population has continued to grow in Oregon. And, while encounters between cougars and humans remain rare in the High Desert, they are increasing.
Wildlife Biologist Corey Heath, with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, talked with The Source Weekly's Brian Jennings about the agency's handling of these encounters. "Our response in the middle of towns is a little bit different. From a human-safety standpoint, we’re not going to back away and let those cougars meander through town at will. We can’t do that; law enforcement agencies can’t do that, anyway."
Heath adds, "Right now, our policy is we’re not going to relocate those cougars. So, the cougars, if they’re sedentary in town like that, in a place outside their natural habitat, it’s going to get euthanized. Some people agree with that, some people don’t agree with that." But, he admits, "Our cougar plan will be revised in the next little bit – in the next year or so." For those cougars seen on the edge of town or farther out, Heath says they are allowed to move on, as long as they don't threaten anyone or enter more populated areas.
For the full Podcast from The Source, click HERE.