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Cougar sightings reported in Ashland

Ashland police are asking people to be on the alert after multiple people reported encounters with cougars over the past week — the bulk of the sightings in an area popular with hikers.

Four cougar sightings were reported in Ashland over the past week near Hald Strawberry Park, according to an Ashland police news release and information on the agency’s wildlife tracking tool.

The first sighting this month occurred about 8 a.m. Aug. 9, along Ditch Road, according to the police online database. A person reported that “yelling and throwing sticks did not deter” the large cat. The person said the cougar stopped approaching after they backed away.

At 7:30 a.m. the next day, another sighting was reported near the corner of South Laurel and Almond streets.

At just after 5 a.m. Tuesday, another individual reported an encounter with an aggressive mother cougar whose cub climbed a tree beside the trail.

“I stood my ground, acted big and tried to calmly but firmly tell it to go away,” the report said, adding that the large cat kept a distance of between 15 and 20 feet but continued to “hiss aggressively as I spoke to it firmly.”

The individual provided police with a photograph from the encounter, the database shows.

The most recent sighting was reported at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday near the area of Westwood and Orchard streets, when an individual said they saw the large cat walking slowly at a ravine.

“She was not startled when my lights shone on her, but disappeared in moments,” the report said.

Ashland police asked people in the area to be on alert and ready to react. They recommend anyone who encounters a cat to make themselves “large and loud,” not to turn their back and to report the animal and its behavior to police at 541-770-4784.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

This cougar was spotted at 5:02 a.m. Monday at Hald Strawberry Park. Ashland police database photo.
Cougar file photo.