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Cougar spotted in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood

SEATTLE — Cougars are something few people will ever see in person. Known for their strength and agility, they’re rarely seen in the wild.

But despite their notorious stealth, a cougar was spotted Friday evening in Seattle.

“At that moment he poked his head out, and that’s when I saw it was a big cat,” says Rebeca Rambal. She says she was walking along the trail at Lawton Park in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood when it happened. The area is close to apartments and a school.

“Cross my heart. I know what I’m talking about. It was a cougar,” says Rambal.

According to Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, the state is home to about 3,600 cougars.

Friday is not the first time a cougar has been spotted in this Seattle neighborhood. Back in 1981 and 2009, two cougars in Magnolia were captured.

While attacks are rare, they do happen. Just last month a Kenmore woman was attacked by a cougar near North Bend.

Rambal says she’s thankful that her sighting on Friday was brief and peaceful. She says the cougar was quick to retreat.

“I even tried to shoo him first, when he first looked at me. I was like, ‘don’t come near. Shoo!’ and then he went back,” says Rambal.

Rambal is a wildlife photographer. She tells KIRO 7, while she’d love the chance to snap a photo of the big cat, she values her safety even more.

“Seeing wildlife is always exciting to me. But seeing him here absolutely startled me. It’s like, ‘no that is way too close for comfort.’”

Rambal says she contacted the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and that they plan to investigate her claims.