UTAH (ABC4) – Recently, there has been a surge of cougar sightings reported throughout Utah in areas such as West Valley City and Murray. Simultaneously, the state’s drought status has been worsening. As of today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that 100% of Utah is “abnormally dry,” while 99.6% of the state is in a “severe drought.” As a result, Utah’s natural water supply is limited. 

According to Utah’s Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), the drought is encouraging cougars to stray away from the mountains and retreat to the valley.

It’s important to note that as cougars prey on deer, they are usually present wherever deer are present. However, the DWR states that “If severe drought conditions cause prey to leave an area, the cougars will likely follow and leave an area, as well. It is possible that deer seeking water sources in towns and cities may draw cougars to those areas this summer as well.”

Stay safe, and remember to take the necessary precautions to keep cougars at bay.

According to the Humane Society, it can be helpful to seal open areas under structures like porches, sheds, decks, and anything else that can provide shelter for cougars or their prey.