SISTERS, Ore. - Two more cougars ? a mother and son ? were killed in a neighborhood east of Sisters late last week, bringing the total to five killed as they stayed in a populated area, hunting for food, officials confirmed Monday.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services workers killed the female and juvenile male Thursday night, said Michelle Dennehy, communications coordinator with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The female is believed to be the mother of the four younger cougars, all part of the same litter, Dennehy said.
?Both (the) female and juvenile male were tracked within the subdivision and killed within 1/8 mile of the other three cougars,? which had been shot and killed several days earlier, Dennehy said.
?The adult female had gone through several horse pastures, over decks, through dog runs, and was obviously hunting for more food,? the ODFW spokeswoman said. ?The female was treed within 100 feet of a house.?
A week ago, officials said the March 18 fatal shooting of three young cougars east of Sisters followed several sightings in the McKinney Butte area and a cougar attack late the previous week on two pet dogs, one of which was critically injured.
"Another neighbor said they saw a cougar with a domestic cat in its mouth last week,? Dennehy said at the time. ?Chickens have also been lost to a predator (in the area) within the last few weeks.?
Aspen Lake Golf Course reported seeing four cougars in recent weeks, while another area resident reported her daughter had encountered a cougar while riding her horse in the neighborhood, Dennehy said. Neighbors have seen a cougar on their deck, driveway and near homes.
?Cougars and other predators are considered dangerous, once they are repeatedly seen in daylight in residential areas or attack pets or livestock,? Dennehy said. ?Such cougars are tracked and killed, to protect people and property.?
On Friday, March 16, ODFW contacted USDA Wildlife Services, the agency that handles predator control and has the expertise to track cougars, Dennehy said.
Two days later, they tracked three cougars and killed them within the subdivision, within 400 yards of each other, she said. They were estimated to be 18 to 20 months of age, Dennehy said, adding that Wildlife Services continues to look for a fourth cougar, believed to be the other cougars? mother.
Dennehy explained that "ODFW will not relocate cougars that have attacked pets or raise human safety. That would just move the problem elsewhere."
Also, she said, Oregon's cougar population "is very healthy, and available cougar habitat is taken. Relocating a cougar would disrupt another cougar and could also spread any disease the cougar has to a new area."
Kris Kristovich sent several photos to NewsChannel 21 after he spotted three cougars on his property, outside his kitchen window on Barclay Place.
Kristovich said he saw the cougars roaming around his backyard Sunday morning, and had heard noises on his porch at night over the past week.
"I'm kind of a wildlife guy, and it's kind of sad," Kristovich said. "But it's just one of those things where the wildlife gets a little bit too tame, and comes in your area, and they're on your deck. It's sad, but it's a reality in this world."