Saturday, April 25, 2009

Oregon: Death remains likely fate for Corvallis cougar

By Staff

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- If captured, a cougar seen in Corvallis will be examined by a state veterinarian and evaluated for placement in a wildlife sanctuary or other facility, a state wildlife spokeswoman said.

But the wildlife sanctuary that offered Thursday to take the cat doesn't meet the state's standards for accreditation, she said.

Euthanizing cougars

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, problem cougars are euthanized by private landowners, state or federal wildlife officials, or local police.

If a cougar is killed by a private landowner or in any of these situations, it must be reported and checked in at an ODFW office so we can collect data about the animal.

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Wildlife biologists are still tracking the cougar seen in Corvallis last weekend. The cougar is suspected of mauling a house cat.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife had said, if captured, the cougar would be euthanized.

"Based on the actions of the cougar, it is considered a safety threat," said Michelle Dennehy with ODFW. "Based on our policy and what we know of the cougar at this time, it will likely be euthanized if captured."

Brooks Fahy with Eugene-based Predator Defense argues the state is moving too swiftly in condemning the cougar to die, and Wildcat Haven in Sherwood, Ore., offered Thursday to take the cougar.

Dennehy said, if captured, the cougar could be taken by a sanctuary, but not by Wildcat Haven.

"Our focus now is on trapping the cougar," she told KVAL News. "If trapped, it will be evaluated by our state veterinarian. If at that time we learn new information about this cougar that indicates it is a candidate for placement, our policy is to work with Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited facilities because these provide the highest standard of care. They have vets, space, and facilities to deal with a cougar from the wild whose needs are different that a captive born animal. Wild Cat Haven is not AZA-accredited."

Dennehy said not the actions of the cougar haved place it in the "problem" category for ODFW.

"Just seeing a cougar is not considered a public safety risk," she said. "The cougar in question is a problem cougar—it was repeatedly seen during the day in city limits and it attacked a pet."


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