Ore­gon hiker likely killed by cougar, au­thor­i­ties say

Calgary Herald - - CITY + REGION -

PORT­LAND, ORE. Au­thor­i­ties say a hiker whose body was re­cov­ered this week was likely killed by a cougar, mark­ing the first fa­tal at­tack by a wild cougar in Ore­gon and the sec­ond in the Pa­cific North­west this year.

Search and res­cue teams found the body of Diana Bober, 55, on Mon­day off a trail in the Mount Hood Na­tional For­est in Welches, about 65 kilo­me­tres south­east of Port­land. Her body was sev­eral miles from where searchers found her car last week near a ranger sta­tion.

Bober, an avid hiker who of­ten trekked in the Mount Hood and Columbia River Gorge area, was last heard from by fam­ily and friends on Aug. 29. She was re­ported miss­ing Fri­day and it’s still un­clear when she started her hike, said Sgt. Brian Jensen of the Clacka­mas County Sher­iff ’s Of­fice.

Her body had in­juries con­sis­tent with a cougar at­tack, and a med­i­cal ex­am­iner ruled out the pos­si­bil­ity that she had died of an­other cause be­fore be­ing mauled, Jensen said. DNA sam­ples col­lected at the scene were be­ing flown by the Ore­gon State Po­lice to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice lab­o­ra­tory for fur­ther anal­y­sis, he said.

Au­thor­i­ties warned a lo­cal school dis­trict of the at­tack and ad­vised other hik­ers to stay out of the area.

Ore­gon wildlife of­fi­cials are at­tempt­ing to find and kill the an­i­mal, he said.

“This is an un­prece­dented event in Ore­gon,” said Brian Wolfer, wa­ter­shed man­ager for the Depart­ment of Fish and Wildlife. “We don’t know what risk it poses to the pub­lic.”

Cougar sight­ings are rel­a­tively com­mon in Ore­gon, par­tic­u­larly in more ru­ral ar­eas, but Bober’s death ap­pears to be the first fa­tal at­tack.

There are about 6,600 cougars — also com­monly called moun­tain lions or pu­mas — through­out Ore­gon. State wildlife of­fi­cials get about 400 complaints about the an­i­mals each year, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties.

Cougars can be killed by landown­ers or law en­force­ment of­fi­cials when they pose a threat to hu­man safety or cause dam­age to live­stock or agri­cul­tural crops. They also can be hunted.

Over the past decade, about 20 cougars have been killed each year in the wildlife man­age­ment area where Bober’s body was found.

In May, a moun­tain biker in Wash­ing­ton state was killed by a cougar on a trail east of Seat­tle, the first fa­tal at­tack in that state in 94 years.


There are about 6,600 cougars — also known as moun­tain lions or pu­mas — through­out the state of Ore­gon.


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