EUGENE, Ore. - Something ate almost all of John Schetzsle's chickens and goats this weekend.
Schetzsle lives just outside the city limits east of Hendricks Park off Floral Hill Drive, not far from the Ribbon Trail that connects the park to where Spring Boulevard resumes at 30th Boulevard.
His urban farm lived behind a 5-foot fence.
But Friday night, something killed a chicken and a goat.
On Saturday night, another goat died.
He lost two chickens Sunday night.
Schetzsle has one chicken left - and lots of new concerns about what might be prowling his yard.
Wildlife biologist Brian Wolfer with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife suspected a coyote at first based on photographs KVAL News showed him of the tracks.
Wolfer visited the site later in the day Monday and changed his opinion: Based on hair found on the fence, he suspects a young cougar is to blame
"If a person encounters a cougar, the best thing to do is make yourself look big and make sure it knows you see it," said Brian Wolfer, district wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "You are going to raise your hands above your head. Make some noise, yell, etcetera. Back away and don't turn and run or anything like that. But just back away. Keep your eyes on the animal. Make yourself as big and as intimidating as possible."
If you live in cougar countryLearn your neighborhood. Be aware of any wildlife corridors or places where deer or elk concentrate. Walk pets during the day and keep them on a leash. Keep pets indoors at dawn and dusk. Shelter them for the night. Feed pets indoors. Don't leave food and garbage outside. Use animal-proof garbage cans if necessary. Remove heavy brush from near the house and play areas. Install motion-activated light outdoors along walkways and driveways. Be more cautious at dawn and dusk when cougars are most active. Do not feed any wildlife. By attracting other wildlife, you may attract a cougar. Keep areas around bird feeders clean. Deer-proof your garden and yard with nets, lights, fencing. Fence and shelter livestock. Move them to sheds or barns at night.
If You Recreate in Cougar CountryBe aware of your surroundings at all times. Leave your dog at home or keep it on a leash. Pets running free may lead a cougar back to you. Hike in groups. Make noise to alert wildlife of your presence. Keep children close to you. Teach them about wildlife. Keep campsites clean. Sleep 100 yards from cooking areas. Store food in animal-proof containers. Carry deterrent spray. Be cautious at dusk and dawn. Never feed any wildlife. Prey attracts predators. Do not approach any wildlife; stay at least 100 yards away. Steer clear of baby wildlife. Mother is likely nearby. Be alert when sitting quietly or stopping to rest. Be especially alert at dawn and dusk when cougars are most active. Be aware that animal calls and animal kills can attract a cougar.
If You Encounter a CougarCougars 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.