September 10, 2008

Cougar Killed WenWorld

By Craig Troianello

By K.C. Mehaffey

The Wenatchee World

MALOTT -- A state wildlife officer shot and killed a young cougar in a tree in downtown Malott on Saturday after a crowd had gathered to watch the big cat.

Department of Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Jim Brown said he considered darting the male mountain lion with a tranquilizer and relocating it, but decided it was too risky.

"This was a Saturday at noon, and this cat is 15 to 20 feet up in a tree, right smack dab in the middle of Malott, near Okanogan. This isn't 2 in the morning and at the edge of town," Brown said.

He said 20 to 30 people, including some children, were standing near the tree at 34 Okanogan St., and he didn't want to risk the possibility of an angry cat jumping down and running into the crowd or off into town.

After examining the dead cat, Brown said, he determined it was about 2 years old, healthy and weighed between 90 and 110 pounds.

He said two sheriff's deputies were at the site when he arrived, and a third came later to help keep people back.

Brown later learned that people had seen a cougar in the area but apparently had not reported it.

The cougar may have been forced from its usual habitat by one of two fires near Malott this summer, Brown said.

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