SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — The Hayden Bridge area of Springfield has been the site of several reported cougar sightings in the past week.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says if you live close to a heavily wooded area, there’s a strong possibility that a cougar could come on to your property.
According to police, the number of cougars has grown in recent years, meaning the likelihood of an encounter with one is higher than it’s ever been.
Wildlife experts estimate that there are just under 6,000 cougars in the state of Oregon.
Police warn that if you do encounter a cougar, it’s best to stand your ground and try to intimidate the animal instead of running away.
Experts say the dense forests of the Pacific Northwest make for ideal habitats for cougars.
“If you live in a forested area, it’s best to assume that there are cougars around from time to time,” said ODFW biologist Brian Wolfer.
Some Springfield residents told KEZI 9 News that they’re a little on edge with the recent sightings.
Neighbors of the area said they plan on keeping their dogs inside for the time being. Police urge you to call them if you do see a cougar in the area.