'Cougar sightings have been more frequent lately'

'Cougar sightings have been more frequent lately'

EUGENE, Ore. - Cougars and bears wander out of the woods and onto the Lane Community College campus with some frequency.

"Cougar sightings have been more frequent lately," LCC said in an email to students and staff Wednesday. "A cougar was seen late last evening in the southwest part of main campus."

Cpl. Lisa Rupp with the LCC Public Safety Department was out on her routine patrol Tuesday night around 8 p.m. with another officer when she spotted the cougar near a trail.

"We heard noise in the brush and when we came around the patrol car and there was a cougar right at the end of the poles," Cpl. Rupp said. "It had a big, big head and it looked like a rather large cat."

Cpl. Rupp slowly got back in her car and the cougar turned and went the other way.

"I don't think it meant us any harm," Cpl. Rupp said. "I think it was following two deer that were up on the hill."

Some LCC students were quite alarmed by the cougar sighting.

"I heard they can run and jump pretty far," said Ashely Burton, a student at LCC.

Other LCC students said they were not too shaken by the news.

"It doesn't surprise me that there's a cougar out there because we're surrounded by a heavily forested area," said Dan Guiterrez, a student at LCC.

Jace Smith, Chief of Public Safety at LCC, said usually 2 to 4 sightings are reported on campus every year.

"This is a great place for them to transit through when they're going from one area to another, Smith said. "People shouldn't be alarmed, I mean this is where wildlife belongs out in the wild. We just ask that people take precautions."

The email to the students offers advice on how to avoid a confrontation with a cougar.

"If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to make yourself look larger and clap your hands," LCC advised patrons. "If in the very unusual event that a cougar attacks you, fight back with rocks, sticks, tools or any items available."

That shouldn't be necessary.
 

  • Cougars often will retreat if given the opportunity.
     
  • Leave the animal a way to escape.
     
  • Stay calm and stand your ground.
     
  • Maintain direct eye contact.
     
  • Pick up children, but do so without bending down or turning your back on the cougar.
     
  • Back away slowly.
     
  • Do not run. Running triggers a chase response in cougars, which could lead to an attack.
     
  • Raise your voice and speak firmly.
     
  • If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to make yourself look larger and clap your hands.
     
  • If in the very unusual event that a cougar attacks you, fight back with rocks, sticks, tools or any items available.