Cougar Information

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On Monday, August 5, 2019, 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.

This page was created to share the latest information and sightings with the community.

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

To report a cougar sighting, call WDFW at (425) 775-1311.

If you need immediate assistance from the MIPD or feel you are in danger, call 9-1-1.


On Monday, August 5, 2019, 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.

This page was created to share the latest information and sightings with the community.

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

To report a cougar sighting, call WDFW at (425) 775-1311.

If you need immediate assistance from the MIPD or feel you are in danger, call 9-1-1.


  • July 29, 2020 Potential Cougar Sighting

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    29 Jul 2020

    On Wednesday, July 29, the Mercer Island Police Department was informed of a potential daytime cougar sighting (at 7:10am) near the 6400 block of East Mercer Way. The sighting has been transmitted to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and residents are advised to report any other potential sightings directly to them at: (425) 775-1311.

    This 2020 report is located close to the first sighting of a cougar this time last year (on August 5, 2019), but it is unknown if it could be the same animal. Last year’s initial sighting was photo-confirmed.

    The City is closely monitoring the situation and has reactivated this cougar information page which will be updated as needed.

    For general information about cougars in the Pacific Northwest, visit the WDFW website.

  • Wildwood Park Tree Damage (Oct 2019)

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    29 Jul 2020
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    The City received questions about scratching marks on trees in Wildwood Park. Pictures of the trees were sent to WDFW who confirmed that a deer caused the markings.


  • 10/1/2019 Cougar Update

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    29 Jul 2020
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    Late this morning (10:50am), MIPD received a call about a possible cougar sighting just south of Ellis Pond near 89th Ave SE and SE 47 St.

    The reporting party, who was walking their dog, stated that the animal was approximately 20 yards away, sunning itself near trail bollards, and then walked east into a neighboring yard. The animal was thought to be the size of a large dog - about 50 lbs, brownish in color, with a 2-foot long fluffy tail and pointed ears.

    When the officer met the reporting party onsite, there was some uncertainty as to whether the animal seen was a cougar or another dog.

    MIPD thoroughly checked the area around the potential sighting and found no other substantiating evidence. All information was forwarded to WDFW.

  • 9/17/2019 Cougar Update

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    29 Jul 2020
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    No new sightings over the weekend.

    Since the first confirmed sighting on August 5, the City has worked closely with WDFW on all reported potential sightings and kept the public updated with daily posts on the Cougar Information page. Given that there have been no confirmed sightings since August 6, the City is now transitioning to periodic updates only when major developments occur.

    Residents are still encouraged to contact MIPD by phone if they believe they have seen the animal; reports via social media are difficult for the City to act on in a timely manner.

  • 9/13/2020 Cougar Update

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    29 Jul 2020
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    No new sightings have been reported.

  • 9/12/2019 Cougar Update

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    29 Jul 2020
    This news item has been archived.

    No new sightings have been reported.
  • 9/11/2019 Cougar Update

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    29 Jul 2020
    This news item has been archived.

    No new sightings have been reported.

  • 9/10/2019 Cougar Update

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    29 Jul 2020
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    On September 9, MIPD Officer White responded to a possible sighting at the 3700 block of 88th Ave SE. His investigation included the reporting party finding potential cougar scat in the yard. Officer White sent the photo to WDFW. Upon review, WDFW experts noted, “That is deer droppings with bad digestion. Not cougar scat.” No other sightings reported.

  • 9/9/2019 Cougar Update

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    29 Jul 2020
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    No new sightings were reported over the weekend.

  • 9/5/2019 Cougar Update

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    29 Jul 2020
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    No new cougar reports.

    WDFW Information Added

    In addition to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) video presentation from the September 3 Council Meeting, WDFW and MIPD presentation slides have been added to the Document Library, located in the righthand menu.

    WDFW Responds to Community Questions and Concerns

    Leading up to WDFW's presentation, the City shared questions and concerns expressed by the community. WDFW incorporated responses throughout their presentation. For ease of access, we've pulled out presentation segments that respond to those questions/concerns and have linked to those here.