‘It was huge!’: Cougar spotted walking through backyard in Renton Highlands

RENTON, Wash. — Over the weekend a cougar was recorded roaming around someone’s backyard in the Renton Highlands area.

Because of the neighborhoods close proximity to Cougar Mountain Regional Park, it’s not unusual to get reports about wildlife sightings in that area. Nonetheless, neighbors were shocked.

“It was huge!” said local resident Chandra Smith Campbell. “It looked like to be a mom, it was an adult cougar.”

“I’m surprised this far from the woods, the further east you go, it’s more rural,” said Joe.

The video was captured near Ilwaco Place NE and NE 7th Street.

“So that’s a block over and a block down so that’s really close to my house so that’s really scary,” said Campbell. “We have not personally not seen any around here, but because we live so close to wooded areas I would think so.”

Chase Gunnell with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says that’s exactly why.

“One of the interesting things about Renton is you are just south of Cougar Mountain Park, and like the name conveys, Cougar Mountain is an area where we know that there are cougars, there are black bears, and deer and other wildlife as well,” Gunnell described.

Given the size and prints left behind, Gunnell believes the cougar is full grown.

Aside from this sighting, Gunnell says earlier this week they received a report of a cougar in the eastern area of Renton. It’s unclear if it’s the same cat, but the agency says there is no risk to the public.

“If you do see a cougar out on a trail or in the woods the first things to do is to just stand your ground and stay calm. In most cases that cat is going to turn around and run the other way they are typically very weary of people, but you need to be cautious and not run, never run from a cougar that can trigger their predatory instincts,” said Gunnell.

Chase says it’s not mating season for cougars, but it is for deer and elk, and cougars tend to follow their prey.

As of 2022 WDFW estimates there are approximately 3,600 cougars in Washington state.

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