A cougar has been spotted repeatedly in residential areas on the east side of Newman Lake. At this point, it has not done anything to alarm officials at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), but they are monitoring the situation and would like to hear from you immediately if you do see the cat. Please call the Spokane office at 509-892-1001 to report sightings. While cougar attacks on humans are very rare, safety is always the number one priority, so call 911 first if there is an immediate safety issue.

In the meantime, there are some things you can do to discourage cougars from taking up residence in your neighborhood. Don’t feed deer, turkeys or other wildlife because predators often follow. Don’t feed pet cats or dogs outside. Close off open spaces under decks or structures to eliminate places where a mountain lion could find shelter. And secure garbage cans.

If you do come face-to-face with a large cat,do NOT run. Face the cougar. Talk to it firmly while backing away. Try to appear larger than the cougar by stepping up onto a rock or log or put your hands over your head. If it appears that it is going to attack, shout, wave your arms or throw anything you have at it. If the cougar attacks, do not play dead but fight back.

More information on cougars, what to do if you see one, and how to prevent conflicts with them can be found on the WDFW page at https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/species/puma-concolor#conflict.