Cougar riles Santa Clara neighborhood; staying safe in cougar country

ST. GEORGE – Officers responded to a report of a cougar sighting Wednesday in the area of 1808 N. Lava Flow in St. George.

Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety and the Department of Wildlife Resources were both alerted after the cougar was seen climbing a retaining wall in the backyard of a residence, the St. George Police Department said in a statement.

The cougar’s last reported direction of travel was toward Ivins. Officers circulated the area for some time but were unable to locate the animal, according to the statement.

Santa Clara-Ivins reported a similar sighting about a week ago.

What to do if you meet a cougar

According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, cougars are exciting animals to see in the wild and rarely cause problems for humans. However, although it’s unlikely to happen, residents should know how to react if they encounter an aggressive cougar:

  • Do not run from a cougar. Running will provoke an instinctive prey response and the cougar may pursue you.
  • Make yourself look intimidating. Make eye contact with the cougar, which cougars consider a threat. Make yourself look big by opening your jacket, raising your arms and waving them. Speak loudly and firmly to the cougar.
  • If you have children, pick them up. Try to pick children up before they panic and run. When you are picking children up, keep eye contact with the cougar and try not to bend over too far or turn your back to the cougar.
  •  If you are attacked, fight back! Protect your head and neck, as the neck is the target for the cougar. If the cougar thinks it is not likely to win its fight with you quickly, it is likely to give up and leave.

Whom to call if you meet a cougar

If you encounter a cougar in a residential area, or if you have an encounter with an aggressive cougar, alert the Division of Wildlife Resources.

During regular office hours, call the DWR office closest to you. A DWR employee will notify a conservation officer of your encounter or transfer you directly to law enforcement personnel. If the encounter or sighting occurs after hours or on the weekend, please call the police, who can contact a conservation officer to handle the situation.

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  • Tyrone October 9, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    She was running errands and is back at office with Jake.

  • DB October 9, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    If I see a cougar in my neighborhood, how ’bout (after I finish screaming…) just calling 911, instead of roaming through the White Pages looking for the phone number of the DWR?

  • beerbelly October 9, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Cougars are generally docile and as there is not a big Rivalry football game this year you should be ok.
    Just to be safe do not incite them with comments like “Your Season is as done as Taysom Hill’s” or “BYU Stinks”, etc.
    Just wear your U proudly but without arrogance and you probably will not be harmed (Sarcasm).

  • bob October 9, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Id shoot the cougar not wait for dwr ya they are a very beautiful animal but alittle kid in a back yard is aveasy snack

  • Mike October 9, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Maybe she went to the one and only.

  • Pinky October 9, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    I meet a cougar from Santa Clara, heck i married her

  • tight magic undies October 10, 2014 at 10:06 am

    These cougars in Santa Clara are out of control. They attack 15 year olds, more than once.

  • Tweety Bird October 10, 2014 at 11:29 am

    “OOOOOHHH, I tawt I taw a puddy tat!”:D

  • Bobber October 10, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Maybe this will give the LDS families w/ 13 kids motivation to actually watch them instead of just turning them loose.

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