SEATTLE — It has been more than a decade since a cougar was spotted in Seattle’s Discovery Park, and now some people are trying to get the word out after there were several reported sightings within the last few weeks.
There are 534 acres of thickets and meadows that draw joggers, walkers and families.
“I was just running through the field over here, and there was a coyote that ran probably 10 yards in front of me at full speed just out of the bushes across the path,” said Conner McMonagle, who was enjoying a run.
The coyote is just a reminder of just how wild the park can be.
KIRO 7 told a mother, Jill Murphy, about the recent cougar sightings, and she questioned whether she would continue her walk and said, “Should I still go on a walk? Because I don’t want to be eaten by a cougar, ya!”
Friends of Discovery Park have gone on Instagram to raise awareness. They have been telling anyone who visits the Magnolia bluff lands with small children or pets to be on high alert.
“Like Tiger Mountain or Cougar Mountain, when you go hiking there, you expect it, but not in Discovery Park,” Murphy said. “This is actually one of my fears, so I think we’ll need to find a new park.”
Murphy had planned to walk with her two kids and their new puppy, but she changed her mind and left.
Fatal cougar attacks are rare. However, two years ago, there was a fatal mountain lion attack in North Bend. It was the first in nearly 100 years.
The last time a cougar was spotted in Discovery Park was in 2009. The Department of Fish and Wildlife eventually tranquilized, captured and released the 138 lb animal back into the wild.
If you do come across a cougar, wildlife officials advise that you stop where you are, stand tall, which could mean standing on something like a log to seem larger and then wave your arms above your head, shout, throw rocks, and if it comes down to it, aggressively fight back.
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