PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) —After a number of reported sightings of cougars throughout the Portland metro area — including three early Friday — a cougar was spotted up a tree in Northeast Portland.
The approximately 110-pound cougar was euthanized by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) staff, said ODFW spokesperson Meg Kanady, because it had lost its fear of people.
The cat spent several hours up a tree in the 2900 block of 121st Avenue, near a 4th of July barbecue while police, fire and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) successfully tranquilized, caged and removed the animal.
The cougar has been loaded onto a truck and relocated to a location in its natural habitat, away from people. Dozens of neighbors gathered to watch as crews worked to sedate, secure and transport the cougar.
ODFW said attempts to relocate the cougar could not guarantee safety for residents.
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Neighbors were put on lock down while the cat was taken down.
Three previous calls
Portland police officers responded to three separate calls Friday morning. The first sighting was reported at 1:30 a.m. around NE 117th and Siskiyou Street.The second sighting came a few hours later, at 4:11 a.m., near the Gateway bike path at I-205 northbound.
At 5:30 a.m., police traveled back to Siskiyou Street — this time two blocks away — in response to a third call.
Officers saw no sign of a cougar.
Since late last week, there were five reports in the Portland metro prior to Friday.
- On July 2, a cougar was spotted at NE 148th and Sacramento Street. Officers then saw the big cat walking along a vegetable field NE 147th and Sandy Boulevard before disappearing into the tree line.
- On July 1, a caller living on SE 162nd and Main Street told police she believed a cougar had killed her house cat.
- On June 30, the Gresham Police Department received a cougar report around NE 167th and Halsey Street.
- On June 29, two different East Portland residents alerted police to a full-sized cougar heading north into a neighborhood near SE 121st and Division Street.
While there have been no cougar attacks in the area, wildlife officials urge caution and say to never approach a cougar at any time for any reason.
Rare glimpse for neighbors
Neighbor Sergio Garcia said he saw a cougar slink along his fence then jump his neighbor’s gate at roughly 2 a.m. Friday morning.
“Who would think that there’s going to be a cougar around here?” he asked.
Neighbor Jackie Kohler said she noticed her motion sensor lights go off just before 2 a.m. and found trampled grass, but did not see the elusive animal.
Still, ODFW’s Rick Swart said in the wild, it’s unlikely to see a cougar, but fairly likely a cougar will see you. A pending necropsy will determine whether the cougar was suffering from any health problems.
Euthanization causes mixed reactions
Raine Jones of Vancouver, Wash. said via Twitter she “strongly disagrees with the euthanization of any animal.”
“It should have been captured and released,” she said.
The cat was not aggressive once it fell from the tree, said neighbor Mike Carnivali.
However, neighbor Steve Ho the cat posed a threat to the safety of the neighborhood.