DWR locates and kills cougar running streets of Salt Lake City

News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – A cougar reported to be running the streets of Salt Lake City was tracked down and killed by The Department of Wildlife Resources early Saturday morning.

 According to DWR Sgt. Ray Loken, after multiple hours of searching, they were able to contain the cougar to a backyard near 1050 South and West Temple, just blocks away from Smith’s Ballpark. He told Good4Utah’s Brittany Johnson, that it is highly unusual for a cougar to to get as far into the city as it did.

 “It’s usually kind of a onetime event. It’s over, and then it’s nothing people should have to worry about at night,” said Loken.

 For Nikki Reca, it was a wakeup call like one she’s never received before.

 “As I wake up I heard a shot, then I kind of got scared a little bit,” said Reca. “I started calling my husband because he was asleep, and then I heard another shot and so he woke up and I was like somebody is in our house, I don’t know what was going on.”

 The family’s dog had no idea what was going on either.

 “He didn’t do any noise or anything. He didn’t bark, which we we’re like, ‘why he didn’t bark,’ you know, there’s a lion in the backyard!” shouted Reca.

 Reca, whose family was asleep during the incident, has no idea how the mountain lion ended up in her backyard.

“I don’t know how he like, if he jumped through this front fence, the one in the back is a little taller than this one. So, who knows how he got here.” 

DWR said they could not take the risk of someone coming outside and running into the animal. The decision to kill the cougar was done with public safety in mind. 

“The division of wildlife doesn’t try to immobilize animals using drugs or chemicals after dark because of the danger that the drugs pose. If we should say, miss our target and then are unable to locate our dart, then those drugs are out there that someone can come into contact with and we don’t want that to happen,” explained Loken. “If you try to immobilize an animal and it runs off after it’s been struck by a dart and it goes down somewhere else, someone else can come into contact with it when it’s not in its best state and it could cause a problem as well.” 

Loken said it is possible the cougar came from either the area behind the Capitol or the Oquirrh Mountains. 

No matter where it came from, Reca said she is just glad it all happened while her family was asleep.

What to do if you meet an aggressive cougar:

  • Stop. Never run from a cougar. Do not approach the cougar.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Pick up children and pets or keep them very close.
  • Make yourself look bigger by raising and waving
  • your arms or jacket above your head.
  • Talk firmly in a loud voice, back away slowly and leave the area.
  • Fight back if you are attacked! Protect your head and neck.

For more tips click here, and here.

[EARLIER STORY]

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) A cougar reported to be running the streets of Salt Lake City was tracked down and killed by The Department of Wildlife Resources early Saturday morning. 

According to DWR Sgt. Ray Loken, the cougar was spotted near 1100 West and 1300 South starting Friday afternoon. By the time they located the animal it was on 1000 South West Temple, fairly close to Smith’s Ballpark, at about 4 a.m. 

The juvenile cougar appeared to have traveled a long way, possibly lost and looking for where to go, but because it was dark by the time they located the cougar, it had to be shot.

DWR said they could not take the risk of someone coming outside and running into the animal. The decision to kill the cougar was done with public safety in mind. 

Loken said it is possible the cougar came from either the area behind the Capitol or the Oquirrh Mountains. 

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