Posted by Ted Mitchner, The Oregonian February 07, 2009 20:12PM
ASHLAND -- Police shot and killed a treed cougar near downtown Ashland Saturday morning.
The 76-pound animal was about 20 feet up a tree near Ashland and Clay streets in the Southern Oregon city.
Troopers chose to shoot the animal out of concerns for public safety. The animal was near a mobile home park, businesses and other houses.
The area was cordoned off, and a few houses were evacuated.
Sgt. Kirk Meyers of the Oregon State Police fish and wildlife division said that if the location had been less populated and there had been a clear escape route for the cougar, they would have considered shooting it with a tranquilizer dart.
"We really had no alternative given the site," Meyers said. "Often it takes a few minutes for the drugs (in a tranquilizer dart) to take effect. In the meantime, there was nothing to stop it from going running."
Oregon State Police
The cougar was a healthy, 76-pound male, possibly looking for a new territory after being forced out of territory already controlled by another, older, stronger animal, Meyers said.
Full-grown cougars can reach 120 to 130 pounds.
Troopers from the state police fish and wildlife division were called in about 8:45 a.m. to assist Ashland police.
Cougars are common in Oregon and have grown more so since hunting the animals with dogs was prohibited.
The night before the Ashland incident, Meyers said his officers responded to another Southern Oregon report of a cougar on the roof of a barn.
There have been no recent documented instances of a cougar attacking a human in Oregon, Meyers said, though attacks have taken place elsewhere in the West.
-- Jeff Manning; email@example.com
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