Possible juvenile cougar attack on horses is investigated

Incident occurred on Mount Norway

Incident occurred on Mount Norway

Fish and Wildlife officials are investigating minor injuries sustained by two horses on Mount Norway — possibly caused by a juvenile cougar.

Deputy Chief Mike Cenci said a warden responded to a property Monday, on Southeast 339th Street, Washougal.

“The injuries sustained were pinhole types of injuries — very small punctures — and a cut to one of the lower back legs,” Cenci said by phone Tuesday, from his office in Olympia. “That is not typical of a cougar injury. To say it’s a cougar is really speculation.

“One horse is quite a large animal,” he added. “Generally, cougars don’t pick that big of a target, but young cougars learning how to hunt are still getting used to being predators. It takes some practice to be effective. There is a steep learning curve.”

Cenci recommends residents call 911 or the State Patrol if they see a cougar in their neighborhood or their livestock is being threatened. A Fish and Wildlife officer would then be dispatched.

“If it is a cougar, they have very large territories,” Cenci said. “Whether that becomes a permanent part of any cougar’s route remains to be seen. You can secure your livestock.

“People shouldn’t go into cougar hysteria — particularly when we are not sure if one was involved in this particular case,” Cenci said.

For more information, call the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at 696-6211 or visit www.wdfw.wa.gov.