Agressive Cougar Killed at Ponderosa Campground

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Date: July 5, 2007
Contact: Lynne Brougher, 509-633-9441, X 130

On July 1, 2007 an aggressive cougar was located and shot near the Ponderosa Campground on the Spokane River arm of Lake Roosevelt.  Rangers responded to a report that a cougar had chased two children near the campground, coming within 5 feet of them.  The campground and surrounding beaches were then closed to camping.  The National Park Service, with assistance from the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Service and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, began a search for the cougar.  Rangers Goodro and Kelsey were scanning a ridgeline, when the cougar came up behind them within 6-8 feet.  Both rangers shot at the cougar, killing it.  The cougar was determined to be an underweight juvenile female, approximately one and a half years old.  The cougar was released to Washington State Fish and Wildlife to perform a necropsy.  The campground and surrounding beaches were reopened.

As a reminder to all who come to enjoy Lake Roosevelt, you are in cougar habitat. Keep this in mind and follow some basic rules.

For Your Safety

  • Never approach a cougar, especially a feeding one. Cougars are unpredictable, but will normally avoid a confrontation. If you encounter a cougar, be sure to give it a way out.
  • Keep children close to you while hiking, and do not allow them to run ahead or lag behind on the trail. Pick them up if you see fresh sign of a cougar.
  • Hiking in a small group is best. Particularly in areas where cougars have been sighted, avoid hiking alone.
  • Jogging is not recommended. People running or moving rapidly may be at higher risk.
  • A walking stick makes a useful weapon in the event of an encounter.

If You Encounter a Cougar

  • Stop. Do not run.
  • Immediately pick up small children.
  • If you were sitting or bending over, stand upright. Spread your arms, open your coat -- try to look as large as possible.
  • Maintain eye contact with the cougar, and attempt to slowly back away.

If A Cougar Acts Aggressively

  • Be assertive. If approached, wave your arms, shout, and throw sticks or rocks at it.
  • If attacked, fight back aggressively.

An attack from a cougar is an unlikely event and, by taking these precautions, you can reduce the chances even further.  Report all cougar sightings to a ranger.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area
1008 Crest Drive

Coulee Dam, WA 99116



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