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Updates: Cougar Trapping ... Maybe

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These are followups to the Sun, Sep 13, article “Cougar Trapping ... Maybe”.

- - - - -

4th Update: Wed, Sep 23, 8:30 pm

A cougar - probably the same one - got too close to some domestic livestock Tuesday night on the southside of Bellingham. The livestock became noisy, a caretaker was alerted and shot a gun at the cat. The cat left. The livestock are untouched. The state fish and wildlife agents were alerted and have visited the site.

3rd Update: Tue, Sep 15, 11:30 pm

No cat in the trap. Today the Fish and Wildlife Officer, Ryan Valentine, dismantled the live trap and took it away. The owner of the sheep, Bobbi Volendorf, said she felt relieved that the cougar would remain free. And here, gentle reader, I correct something in my original article. There were three sheep killed by the cougar, not one as I reported. My motivation was to protect Bobbi from visitors wanting to see the trap and dead sheep and such. Many in Happy Valley knew she kept several pet sheep for their wool. I won’t do that again. Now the trap is gone, the sheep buried and the cougar is hopefully focused on deer. The whole purpose for trying to trap the cat is because it is now killing other animals. This might happen again. But in truth, we as a community have no policy on how to live with wild animals in our residential neighborhoods. Our elected leaders really do not want to go near this divisive issue. And so our Fish and Wildlife folks only step in to remove an animal when it becomes potentially dangerous to humans or domestic animals. Is this the same cat that killed two goats on Chuckanut and two sheep in Edgemoor? Probably, say the agents, but we really do not know.

If you experience the cougar doing something that alarms you, call the state wildlife dispatch center at 360 902-2936.

To learn more, the Washington Fish and Wildlife website provides some good information on the cougar.

2nd Update: Tue, Sept. 15, 8:30 a.m.

No phone call yet this morning, so suspect no cat in the trap.

1st Update: Mon, Sept. 14, 11:00 a.m.

There was no cougar in the trap this morning. Sunrise and sunset are the two times a day it is likely to go into the trap. The wildlife agent intends to leave the trap in place for another night.

We will update this post with new developments.

Watch this site.

Comments by Readers

Michael Plummer

Sep 15, 2020

I say leave the cougar be. This is what we do to predators, kill them so we can maintain our status as the top predator. I used to live in Alaska and we just adjusted our behavior to allow space for bears. I am hoping the cougar is savy enough to avoid the trap.

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Tim Paxton

Sep 15, 2020

I agree.  Let the Cougar live.  They are native to this area.  Pet sheep, not so much.   Plus it makes joggers invite their slightly slower companions along, just in case….

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Mike Rostron

Sep 15, 2020

If we don’t want cougars in Bellingham, I suggest we eat more venison.

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Dick Conoboy

Sep 15, 2020

Related piece in today’s Guardian: 

Alarm over inbreeding after California cougars spotted with crooked tails

“The Santa Monica Mountains are surrounded by the 101 Freeway to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the south, and highways and development to the east and west, creating an isolated environment for this group of mountain lions, who face possible extinction. “We’re actually seeing very low levels of genetic diversity; our animals are trapped in here,” adds Sikich. A 2016 study predicted a nearly 100% chance that the lions will be extinct in the mountain range within 50 years due to the genetic bottleneck.”

I think our cougars enjoy a much larger area in which to live with our national forests to the east.  If you see a cougar with a L-shaped tail, let us know.  However, I would not advise trying to determine if the cougar’s testicles have descended. 

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