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.


Q&A

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    Will you provide updates on the latest two sightings near the high school/Gallagher hill?

    IslandTime asked about 1 month ago

    Thanks for your inquiry - at this time (20 Oct 2020), no one has reported a cougar to the MIPD, nor have there been any cougar-related requests for assistance. Please contact the MIPD non-emergency line if you have information on potential recent sightings: 206-275-7610.

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    No question but do want to report that a crow was killed in my yard and a chicken killed in my neighbor’s last week. Only feathers left. Am 1/4 mile from Pioneer Park and 1/2 mile from the possible cougar siting reported On Wednesday. I have called fish and wildlife this morning after seeing your post.

    Sharon asked 4 months ago

    Thanks for sharing this info and passing it along to WDFW.

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    Two posts on Next Door reported a dead deer a week before the Aug 5 video sighting. If the City removed a deer carcass in mid-June then that was the first. The second deer carcass was in late July. Did you remove that one as well? What does WDFW make of 2 dead deer in the same region of MI?

    MI mom asked about 1 year ago

    The City removed the deceased deer near SE 53rd Open Space in mid-June but has not received any other deer reports regarding that area, nor removed any other deer from that area. The deer in mid-June was too decayed to ascertain the cause of death.  In general, it is very difficult for the City to act on second-hand reports from social media, which is why we suggest calling the City or WDFW directly on any cougar-related matter.


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    This was posted on Next Door: A week before the first cougar was seen we had a dead adult deer on the 53rd street trail right next to the park bench (middle of the trail and far from the road). The deer was gone a few days later. Did you investigate?

    MI mom asked about 1 year ago

    The City was notified of, and removed, a deer carcass just off SE 53rd Open Space in mid-June.

    Since that time, the City has not received any other reports of dead deer in that area.

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    I feel that the City of MI is not critically listening to the WDFW responses. Their own website contradicts the information they are providing to MI. "Cougars are most active from dusk to dawn, but it is not unusual for cougars to hunt anytime during the day." As we approach fall and winter, the children begin leaving for school and returning to home in the dark ie dawn and dusk. So, again, I ask you, are you 100% confident that the children are safe? The City is responsible for providing safe transportation to/from school for our children.

    Marie asked over 1 year ago

    The presentation WDFW experts gave at Tuesdays' City Council meeting helped clarify information presented on their website and what they have been sharing with the City, as well as other questions. Their presentation as a whole helps answer the questions expressed by the community and is available here: http://bit.ly/youtube_cougarpresentation

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    I would like to know if several hounds at once have been used to track the cougar. Fish and wildlife routinely use hounds in other parts of Washington. When there has been rain it makes it easier for the dogs to track the cougar. Bottom line is that without hounds it is essential impossible to track a cougar. Is the city and fish and wildlife prepared to accept responsibility for a human attack? If not-then it is time to put several dogs to work.

    Miresident707 asked over 1 year ago

    Leading up to WDFW's presentation, the City shared questions and concerns expressed by the community. WDFW incorporated responses throughout their presentation. The full presentation can be accessed by following this link: http://bit.ly/youtube_cougarpresentation. At 1:30:43 into the video, the WDFW experts talk about tracking with dogs. Here is a direct link to that point in the presentation: http://bit.ly/youtube_tracking_cougar

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    Is the city 100% confident that the children walking to school and waiting at the bus stops will not be attacked by the cougar?

    Marie asked over 1 year ago

    The City has been told by WDFW staff, who are the subject matter experts in wild animal biology, that they do not believe children are in imminent danger due to the cougar. The WDFW has also stated that If the cougar is still on Mercer Island, it will most likely be active only during the middle of the night.

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    Several reports have been auditory rather than visual. They haven't been making to the "Potential Sightings" list. If a recording was made, would this help identify the animal(s) that made the sound?

    JM asked over 1 year ago

    Thank you for your question. Generally the MI Police and WDFW do not consider reports of cat-like vocalizations, screeches, etc, to be conclusive evidence, but a recording could certainly be helpful for analysis. The MIPD swiftly investigates all reports that it receives, however almost all of the noise reports so far have been determined to be raccoons. The remainder have been unverifiable.

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    Can Mercer Island residents attend the city council session with WDFW on Sep. 3rd?

    Concerned MI Resident asked over 1 year ago

    The public can absolutely attend the City Council meeting! WDFW Officers and biologists will give a presentation to Council beginning around 6:45pm at City Hall. MIPD and the City have been sharing questions and concerns expressed by residents with WDFW, so they should incorporate answers to those questions into their presentation.

    The public can also watch the presentation live on the Council’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeJ06MR44sdsy8WyuMl-dcw) and MI-TV Channel 21. We'll also make the archived video available after the meeting.

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    My understanding is a screeching cougar is a female during mating season which can be anytime during the year. Since fresh scents are needed for tracking have the WDFW officers been to Groveland after the cougar was heard screeching at Groveland?

    Veranna asked over 1 year ago

    The report MIPD received on August 25 from Groveland Park was not a screeching sound but hissing sound. MIPD searched the area where the reported noises were made and were unable to find any evidence of the cougar. On September 3, WDFW experts and biologists will speak to the City Council about their response to the cougar sightings on Mercer Island and share information about cougar behavior. They will present during a Special Study Session scheduled for 6:45pm at City Hall. You can watch the presentation live on the Council’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeJ06MR44sdsy8WyuMl-dcw) as well as on MI-TV Channel 21.