BEND, OR -- A cougar has been spotted near homes in Southwest Bend. Michelle Dennehy, with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, says the big cat was seen twice this week but hasn't appeared aggressive, "It really doesn't rise to the level of an immediate human safety threat or a situation where we would pursue the cougar and kill it. But we are concerned, and we want to reduce the risk of any encounter," She tells KBND News, "So, we are advising people not to use this area, which is basically upstream of the Bill Healy bridge. We have trail cameras in the area, so we'll be monitoring it for more cougar activity, but hopefully this cougar just moves on."
Dennehy says this cougar is in the same general area of the Deschutes River Canyon where another was euthanized in February, because it was hunting in backyards and had became a public safety threat.
There are ways neighbors can protect themselves, "Keep your pets indoors at night and feed them inside," says Dennehy, "Be aware of any wildlife corridors or places where deer tend to concentrate, or elk tend to concentrate. And, if you do see a cougar, please call us, or you can also call the police, or if it's an emergency situation, call 911." For more, visit ODFW's "Living with cougars" webpage.