March 8, 2007
CENTRAL POINT —State wildlife officials said Wednesday that three cougars recently taken by a department trapper were killed outside of the boundaries of the Jackson County cougar management target area.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials discovered the error during a geographic information system (GIS) review of the target area map on Friday.
While plotting global positioning system coordinates, staff members found that private lands that department biologists had intended to be part of the target area are located outside the boundary as described in the adopted description.
The location where the cougars were taken is approximately 2.5 miles outside the listed target-area boundary.
After discovering the error, Fish and Wildlife employees on Monday took the traps from the area outside of the boundary, and officials said those will not be returned until the line is redrawn through an administrative process to conform with the original intended area.
Under the recently adopted Oregon Cougar Management Plan, department employees have been trapping cougars in the area since mid-January as part of the department’s cougar-reduction strategy in Jackson County.
A department employee trapped and killed two cougars at the location outside the boundary on Feb. 20 and one cougar on Feb. 23.
“The department regrets this error and has taken steps to correct it,” said Ron Anglin, the deoartment’s Wildlife Division administrator. “ODFW will count the three cougars as part of the 24 it plans to remove this year in the Jackson County target area and correct the boundary description so the language accurately reflects the intended zone.”
The target area includes only the Jackson County portion of the upper Rogue River extended cougar-season area, which originally was drawn in the mid-1990s.
It’s one of three target areas for culling cougars that were selected because of conflicts with humans, livestock, pets and wildlife, based on the number of recorded incidents or verified complaints.
The other two target areas are near Heppner and in the East Beulah area of Malheur County.
As of Wednesday, 17 cougars have been removed in the Heppner area and none in the East Beulah area.
Cougar Management Plan online: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/cougar/