Cougar Information

On Monday, August 5, the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) was alerted to a cougar prowling overnight in the vicinity of Pioneer Park, and it was observed clearly on security camera footage at approximately 6400 East Mercer Way before dawn.

Since then, possible sightings have been reported a handful of other times on the south end of Mercer Island but only two of these are photo-confirmed sightings, on Aug 5 & 6. (See potential sightings list in the right-hand menu.)

The City is working closely with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). WDFW officers are the trained and experienced subject matter experts in wildlife management.

MIPD asks that any resident who sees the cougar, immediately call 9-1-1. MIPD Officers will respond to the location as well as contact WDFW. Officers will investigate the report and make a determination with WDFW what resources to utilize to address the situation. While Mercer Island Police Officers are not trained to capture or track wildlife, they are prepared to use force if an animal poses an imminent threat to the public.

To report a cougar sighting, call 9-1-1 immediately.

This page will be updated regularly with any new information reported to MIPD or WDFW. To receive alerts, subscribe to project updates (right-hand menu).

Leave your comments in the forum section or ask questions in the Q&A tab.


On Monday, August 5, the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) was alerted to a cougar prowling overnight in the vicinity of Pioneer Park, and it was observed clearly on security camera footage at approximately 6400 East Mercer Way before dawn.

Since then, possible sightings have been reported a handful of other times on the south end of Mercer Island but only two of these are photo-confirmed sightings, on Aug 5 & 6. (See potential sightings list in the right-hand menu.)

The City is working closely with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). WDFW officers are the trained and experienced subject matter experts in wildlife management.

MIPD asks that any resident who sees the cougar, immediately call 9-1-1. MIPD Officers will respond to the location as well as contact WDFW. Officers will investigate the report and make a determination with WDFW what resources to utilize to address the situation. While Mercer Island Police Officers are not trained to capture or track wildlife, they are prepared to use force if an animal poses an imminent threat to the public.

To report a cougar sighting, call 9-1-1 immediately.

This page will be updated regularly with any new information reported to MIPD or WDFW. To receive alerts, subscribe to project updates (right-hand menu).

Leave your comments in the forum section or ask questions in the Q&A tab.


  • 8/14 MI Weekly - Update on Cougar Sighting

    3 months ago
    8.5 cougarimage

    On Monday, August 5, the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) was alerted to a cougar prowling overnight in the vicinity of Pioneer Park, and it was observed clearly on security camera footage at approximately 6400 East Mercer Way before dawn (see photo).

    Since that time, the State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and MIPD have received a handful of calls about additional cougar sightings. The latest sighting occurred at 11:00pm on Monday, August 12 in the 7600 block of West Mercer Way on south end of the Island.

    The City encourages the public to immediately notify WDFW officer...

    On Monday, August 5, the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) was alerted to a cougar prowling overnight in the vicinity of Pioneer Park, and it was observed clearly on security camera footage at approximately 6400 East Mercer Way before dawn (see photo).

    Since that time, the State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and MIPD have received a handful of calls about additional cougar sightings. The latest sighting occurred at 11:00pm on Monday, August 12 in the 7600 block of West Mercer Way on south end of the Island.

    The City encourages the public to immediately notify WDFW officer Sergeant Kim Chandler (425-775-1311 ext. 122) or MIPD (425-577-5656) if the cougar is seen.

    Learn more about cougars in Washington from WDFW.


  • 8/13 Cougar Sighting Update

    3 months ago
    Cougarsigns
    Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) have received a handful of calls about additional cougar sightings over the past week. The latest sighting occurred at 11:00pm last night in the 7600 block of West Mercer Way on south end of the Island.

    If you see the animal, immediately call 9-1-1. MIPD officers will respond to the location as well as contact Fish and Wildlife.

    Officers will investigate the report and make a determination with DFW what resources to utilize to address the situation. If the cougar is located, all attempts will be made to tranquilize...

    Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) have received a handful of calls about additional cougar sightings over the past week. The latest sighting occurred at 11:00pm last night in the 7600 block of West Mercer Way on south end of the Island.

    If you see the animal, immediately call 9-1-1. MIPD officers will respond to the location as well as contact Fish and Wildlife.

    Officers will investigate the report and make a determination with DFW what resources to utilize to address the situation. If the cougar is located, all attempts will be made to tranquilize and relocate it to a more suitable habitat.

    As a reminder, cougars are most active from dusk to dawn. If you see it, at any time of day, call 9-1-1. For more information see WDFW’s cougar brochure https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2019-03/Cougar%20Brochure.pdf


  • 8/9 Update on Cougar Sighting from Monday, August 5

    3 months ago

    All week, the City has been in regular contact with the State Department of Fish and Wildlife. As of this afternoon, no new sightings have been reported to Fish and Wildlife or the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) since the initial sightings reported on Monday.

    Fish and Wildlife officers and a trained tracking dog spent several hours in and around the areas near Pioneer Park where the cougar was seen. In order to effectively track the cougar, trained K9 tracking dogs need a fresh scent. The City encourages the public to immediately notify Fish and Wildlife officer Sergeant Kim...

    All week, the City has been in regular contact with the State Department of Fish and Wildlife. As of this afternoon, no new sightings have been reported to Fish and Wildlife or the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) since the initial sightings reported on Monday.

    Fish and Wildlife officers and a trained tracking dog spent several hours in and around the areas near Pioneer Park where the cougar was seen. In order to effectively track the cougar, trained K9 tracking dogs need a fresh scent. The City encourages the public to immediately notify Fish and Wildlife officer Sergeant Kim Chandler (425-775-1311 ext. 122) or MIPD (425-577-5656) if the cougar is seen.

    Follow this link https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/species/puma-concolor for more information about cougars in Washington.

  • 8/7 MI Weekly - Cougar Sighting on Mercer Island

    3 months ago
    8.5 cougarimage

    On Monday, August 5, the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) was alerted to a cougar prowling overnight in the vicinity of Pioneer Park, and it was observed clearly on security camera footage at approximately 6400 East Mercer Way before dawn (see photo). The State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are investigating, and spent several hours Tuesday night walking around and through Pioneer Park with a K9 tracker. The cougar was not seen or tracked.

    Fish and Wildlife will continue their efforts throughout the week and members of the public with firsthand information or sightings are encouraged to contact...

    On Monday, August 5, the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) was alerted to a cougar prowling overnight in the vicinity of Pioneer Park, and it was observed clearly on security camera footage at approximately 6400 East Mercer Way before dawn (see photo). The State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are investigating, and spent several hours Tuesday night walking around and through Pioneer Park with a K9 tracker. The cougar was not seen or tracked.

    Fish and Wildlife will continue their efforts throughout the week and members of the public with firsthand information or sightings are encouraged to contact WDFW Sergeant Kim Chandler at 425-775-1311 ext. 122 and MIPD 425-577-5656.

    Fish and Wildlife officers are trained subject matter experts in this area. Sergeant Chandler is also available to help answer questions and concerns.

    Signs have been posted at the entrances to, and throughout, Pioneer Park. The City will continue to share updates through various communication channels.

    Also known as a mountain lion (Puma concolor), these large felines are typically solitary and very rarely seen in the wild. Cougars vary in color from reddish-brown to tawny (deerlike) to gray, with a black tip on their long tail.

    Cougars are most active from dusk to dawn and can occasionally appear in areas of dense human habitation, though this is very uncommon on Mercer Island. Such appearances are almost always brief, with the animal moving along quickly in its search of a more suitable permanent home.

    Cougar attacks on humans are extremely rare in Washington state, with only two known fatal incidents (1924 and 2018), and 19 other attacks over the past 100 years.

    There are a number of practices to follow that can help prevent a conflict with cougars around your property - if possible, all neighbors should attempt to do the same.

    If you do happen to have a close encounter with a cougar, the WDFW advises the following:

    • Stop, pick up small children immediately, and don't run. Running and rapid movements may trigger an attack; at close range, a cougar's instinct is to chase.
    • Face the cougar. Talk to it firmly while slowly backing away. Always leave the animal an escape route.
    • Try to appear larger than the cougar. Get above it (e.g., step up onto a rock or stump). If wearing a jacket, hold it open to further increase your apparent size. If you are in a group, stand shoulder-to-shoulder to appear intimidating.
    • Do not take your eyes off the cougar or turn your back. Do not crouch down or try to hide.
    • Never approach the cougar, especially if it is near a kill or with kittens, and never offer it food.
    • If the cougar does not flee, be more assertive, shout, wave your arms and throw anything you have available. The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger.
    • If the cougar attacks, fight back. Be aggressive and try to stay on your feet. Cougars have been driven away by people who have fought back using anything within reach. If you are aggressive enough, a cougar will flee, realizing it has made a mistake.

    Learn more about cougars in Washington from WDFW.


  • 8/7 Update on Cougar Sighting

    3 months ago
    Sgt.chandler

    Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, along with a K9 tracker, spent several hours last night walking around and through Pioneer Park. The cougar was not seen or tracked. Fish and Wildlife will continue their efforts throughout the week.

    Members of the public with firsthand information/sightings are encouraged to pass along credible sightings to Sergeant Kim Chandler with Fish and Wildlife (425-775-1311 ext. 122) and the Police Department (425-577-5656). Sergeant Chandler is also available to help answer questions and concerns.

    For more information visit Fish and Wildlife’s cougar information page: https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/species/puma-concolor

    Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, along with a K9 tracker, spent several hours last night walking around and through Pioneer Park. The cougar was not seen or tracked. Fish and Wildlife will continue their efforts throughout the week.

    Members of the public with firsthand information/sightings are encouraged to pass along credible sightings to Sergeant Kim Chandler with Fish and Wildlife (425-775-1311 ext. 122) and the Police Department (425-577-5656). Sergeant Chandler is also available to help answer questions and concerns.

    For more information visit Fish and Wildlife’s cougar information page: https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/species/puma-concolor

  • 8/6 Update on Cougar Sighting Near Pioneer Park

    3 months ago
    Ppcougarsign

    Earlier today, Police staff spoke with Fish and Wildlife Sergeant Kim Chandler and expressed the community’s concern regarding the cougar that has been spotted on Mercer Island. Fish and Wildlife will continue to gather information on sightings and attempt to track the cat. They did a trail walk-through with a tracking dog in the areas where the cougar has been seen in and near Pioneer Park.

    Sgt. Chandler advised that he is available to answer questions and concerns about what Fish and Wildlife is doing to address the situation. He can be reached at (425) 775-1311 ext. 122.

    ...

    Earlier today, Police staff spoke with Fish and Wildlife Sergeant Kim Chandler and expressed the community’s concern regarding the cougar that has been spotted on Mercer Island. Fish and Wildlife will continue to gather information on sightings and attempt to track the cat. They did a trail walk-through with a tracking dog in the areas where the cougar has been seen in and near Pioneer Park.

    Sgt. Chandler advised that he is available to answer questions and concerns about what Fish and Wildlife is doing to address the situation. He can be reached at (425) 775-1311 ext. 122.

    Fish and Wildlife officers are the trained subject matter experts in this area, and we want to assure the community that we are doing everything we can to assist and support them. As always, MIPD will respond to life safety incidents.

    Signs (pictured) have been posted at the entrances and throughout Pioneer Park.

    If you do happen to have a close encounter with a cougar, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) advises the following:
    • Stop, pick up small children immediately, and don’t run. Running and rapid movements may trigger an attack; at close range, a cougar’s instinct is to chase.
    • Face the cougar. Talk to it firmly while slowly backing away. Always leave the animal an escape route.
    • Try to appear larger than the cougar. Get above it (e.g., step up onto a rock or stump). If wearing a jacket, hold it open to further increase your apparent size. If you are in a group, stand shoulder-to-shoulder to appear intimidating.
    • Do not take your eyes off the cougar or turn your back. Do not crouch down or try to hide.
    • Never approach the cougar, especially if it is near a kill or with kittens, and never offer it food.
    • If the cougar does not flee, be more assertive, shout, wave your arms and throw anything you have available. The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger.
    • If the cougar attacks, fight back. Be aggressive and try to stay on your feet. Cougars have been driven away by people who have fought back using anything within reach. If you are aggressive enough, a cougar will flee, realizing it has made a mistake.

    There are a number of practices to follow that can help prevent a conflict with cougars around your property. Read more from WDFW here: https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/species/puma-concolor#conflict

  • 8/5 Cougar Sighting Near Pioneer Park

    3 months ago
    8.5 cougarimage

    Early Monday morning, August 5, the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) was alerted to a cougar prowling overnight in the vicinity of Pioneer Park, and it was observed clearly on security camera footage near 6400 East Mercer Way before dawn. (Thank you for the photo).

    The State Department of Wildlife (WDFW) has also been notified and is investigating. Also known as a mountain lion (Puma concolor), these large felines are typically solitary and very rarely seen in the wild. Cougars vary in color from reddish-brown to tawny (deerlike) to gray, with a black tip on their long tail.

    ...

    Early Monday morning, August 5, the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) was alerted to a cougar prowling overnight in the vicinity of Pioneer Park, and it was observed clearly on security camera footage near 6400 East Mercer Way before dawn. (Thank you for the photo).

    The State Department of Wildlife (WDFW) has also been notified and is investigating. Also known as a mountain lion (Puma concolor), these large felines are typically solitary and very rarely seen in the wild. Cougars vary in color from reddish-brown to tawny (deerlike) to gray, with a black tip on their long tail.

    Cougars are most active from dusk to dawn and can occasionally appear in areas of dense human habitation, though this is very uncommon on Mercer Island. Such appearances are almost always brief, with the animal moving along quickly in its search of a more suitable permanent home.

    Cougar attacks on humans are extremely rare in Washington state, with only two known fatal incidents (1924 and 2018), and 19 other attacks over the past 100 years.

    There are a number of practices to follow that can help prevent a conflict with cougars around your property - if possible, all neighbors should attempt to do the same. Read more from WDFW here: https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/species/puma-concolor#conflict

    If you do happen to have a close encounter with a cougar, the WDFW advises the following:

    • Stop, pick up small children immediately, and don’t run. Running and rapid movements may trigger an attack; at close range, a cougar’s instinct is to chase.
    • Face the cougar. Talk to it firmly while slowly backing away. Always leave the animal an escape route.
    • Try to appear larger than the cougar. Get above it (e.g., step up onto a rock or stump). If wearing a jacket, hold it open to further increase your apparent size. If you are in a group, stand shoulder-to-shoulder to appear intimidating.
    • Do not take your eyes off the cougar or turn your back. Do not crouch down or try to hide.
    • Never approach the cougar, especially if it is near a kill or with kittens, and never offer it food.
    • If the cougar does not flee, be more assertive, shout, wave your arms and throw anything you have available. The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger.
    • If the cougar attacks, fight back. Be aggressive and try to stay on your feet. Cougars have been driven away by people who have fought back using anything within reach. If you are aggressive enough, a cougar will flee, realizing it has made a mistake.

    Learn more about cougars in WA: https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/species/puma-concolor