WELCHES, Ore. – A cougar has been shot and killed by wildlife officials in the same area where a cougar is suspected of killing a hiker near Mount Hood.
Officials said the cougar was killed around 3:15 p.m. Friday in the Hunchback Mountain Trail area.
The cougar’s carcass is being taken to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland where it will be tested to see if it is the same cougar that killed Diana Bober.
Wildlife officials said the female cougar was not lactating, meaning she was not caring for kittens.
The hunt for the cougar began Thursday, but officials found no sign of the animal. On Friday, they expanded the search area to the west of the trail where Bober’s body was found earlier this week.
Around 9:20 a.m., officials said a cougar walked in from of a trail camera that was set up this week just feet from where Bober’s backpack was found.
Wildlife officials were able to get to the site about three hours after the cougar was spotted on the trail camera and hounds were able to pick up the animal’s scent. Officials said they followed the cougar until it climbed a tree, where it was shot.
“We don’t know if this is the cougar responsible, but we do know that this cougar was at the attack site today,” said Brian Wolfer with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We are doing all we can to confirm as quickly as possible whether this is the animal responsible.”
Officials said it will take at least three days before test results are available to confirm if this is the cougar that killed Bober.
Wildlife officials said they will remain in the area where the attack happened and continue to search for cougars until they get those results. They said if another cougar is found, they may also kill it and test it to ensure that the correct cougar has been caught.
Bober was last seen Aug. 29 when she went for a hike on the trail. Her body was found Monday with evidence of a cougar attack.
This is the first fatal cougar attack on record in Oregon.