EDITOR’S NOTE: There are cougars in Tillamook County – and we are sharing this article and information to raise awareness about public safety on our many hiking trails. Please review the information at the end of the article which includes tips about recreating safely – #1 – Always be aware of your surroundings … and more.
News Release from Clackamas Co. Sheriff’s Office
Posted on FlashAlert: September 11th, 2018 3:40 PM
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office recovered the body of Diana Bober, 55, who had been reported as missing on August 29, 2018. Ms. Bober’s body was found off of the Hunchback Trail in the Mt. Hood National Forest in Welches, Oregon on Sept.10.
Ms. Bober’s missing status was reported to the Gresham Police Department on September 7, 2018. It was reported that Ms. Bober had not been seen/heard from since August 29, 2018.
The Hunchback Mountain trailhead is closed until further notice with additional closures possible.
According to the Medical Examiner’s Office, Ms. Bober’s injuries are consistent with a suspected cougar attack. Positive identification of the responsible genus of animal will be determined using DNA samples that have been flown by the Oregon State Police to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland. The Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife is participating in the investigation.
Participating agencies in the search and rescue effort included Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue, Portland Mountain Rescue, Crag Rats, U.S Forest Service, Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, American Medical Response, Mountain Wave, and Hoodland Fire Dept.
The Oregon Trail School District has been contacted and made aware of the incident.
The following is from the Oregon Department Fish and Wildlife:
“This is a terrible tragedy, and our sympathy goes out to Diana’s family and friends,” said Brian Wolfer, ODFW watershed manager. “All of us at ODFW are thinking of you today.”
This event is the first verified fatal attack by a wild cougar in Oregon. Wildlife managers will attempt to kill the cougar responsible for the attack. ODFW wildlife biologists and Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife officers went to the scene earlier today to assess the situation and decide how best to locate the cougar. Also, evidence from the scene has been sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore. for analysis.
Currently, Oregon has about 6,600 cougars of all age classes found throughout the state. ODFW tracks conflicts with cougars—situations where they kill livestock or pets or threaten human safety by being in town repeatedly in daylight. Complaints have averaged more than 400 per year statewide for the last several years.
Cougars can be killed by landowners or law enforcement when they cause agricultural damage or human safety issues. They can also be hunted. This tragic incident occurred in the Santiam Wildlife Management Unit, where cougar mortalities due to damage, human safety complaints or hunting have averaged about 20 per year for the past 10 years.
“This is an unprecedented event in Oregon, we are asking people to avoid this area while we attempt to remove this cougar,” said Wolfer. “We don’t know what risk it poses to the public.”
If you see a cougar in this area, call 911.
- People who are recreating in the area or anywhere in cougar country are always advised to:
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Hike in groups.
- Keep your dog close to you or on a leash.
- Make noise to alert wildlife of your presence.
- Keep children close to you.
- Be especially alert at dawn and dusk when cougars are most active.
If you encounter a cougar in the wild, you should:
- Stay calm and stand your ground.
- Maintain direct eye contact.
- Pick up any children, but do so without bending down or turning your back on the cougar.
- Back away slowly.
- Do not run. Running triggers a chase response in cougars, which could lead to an attack.
- Raise your voice and speak firmly.
- If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to make yourself look larger and clap your hands.
- If in the very unusual event that a cougar attacks you, fight back with rocks, sticks, tools or any other items available.