Bulletin Staff Report

State wildlife officials and Bend Police killed a cougar Saturday that had been reported in a southwest Bend neighborhood for several days.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Bend Police tracked the cougar — a male weighing 135 pounds — to the Deschutes River Woods area, where it was killed about 8:30 a.m., the state wildlife agency said.

Based on the cougar’s paw size, which matched tracks found in the backyard of a home in River Canyon Estates, wildlife officials are confident this was the cougar they identified as a threat to the community.

“While there is no longer an immediate human safety issue in the area, Deschutes River Canyon offers excellent cougar habitat and prey (deer),” the wildlife agency said in a press release. “There is always a chance of encountering a cougar while recreating in this area so anyone who uses it should review tips on what to do if you encounter a cougar.”

The cougar is thought to have come to the area between Monday and Tuesday, when animal tracks that appeared to belong to a big cat were found in the backyard of a home in the River Canyon Estates neighborhood, as well as along the nearby rim of the Deschutes River.

Wildlife officials had posted signs in the neighborhood and notified two area elementary schools.

Central Oregon has experienced a rash of cougar sightings in the past year.

Last August, a farmer shot and killed a cougar after it killed two Shetland sheep and a turkey on his property east of Bend, according to The Bulletin’s archives.

Earlier that month, authorities caught and euthanized a cougar spotted near Lake Billy Chinook.

ODFW estimates around 6,400 cougars live in Oregon.