Cougar found dead in I-15 median likely same animal seen in Cedar City the day before, officials say

Photo of a cougar on a rocky ledge, date and location not specified. | Photo courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — A cougar was found dead in the median of Interstate 15 early Tuesday morning, one day after cougar sightings had been reported in the Leigh Hill / Ridge Road area of Cedar City just west of the interstate.

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Bambi Baie said the animal apparently had been hit by a vehicle sometime during the overnight hours near mile marker 56.

Utah Department of Natural Resources officer Josh Carver told Cedar City News it’s likely it was the same cougar that was seen in town the day before, based on its size, description and location.

“It probably was hit early this morning, like three or four this morning,” Carver said. “It was hit crossing the road just before you get into Cedar City, where there’s a ‘Welcome to Cedar City’ sign.”

“It was found dead in the median there, and it was coming from the location that it was seen in town,” he said.

On Monday, Cedar City Corporation had posted a warning to area residents on its Facebook page about multiple reports of cougar sightings near Ridge Road and telling those in the area to keep small pets indoors.

Although Carver said he believes the animal seen yesterday is the same animal found dead Tuesday morning, he says area residents should still be vigilant in watching for cougars.

“When you get an animal this young, it’s possible there’s another litter mate with it that’ll still be running with them,” he said.

Carver said the cougar found dead Tuesday was a young female estimated to be about 10 months old, which he says is large enough to hurt an adult or even kill a small child or family pet.

Anyone who sees a cougar or other potentially dangerous wildlife in a populated area is asked to immediately contact the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. The DWR’s southern office phone number is 435-865-6100. Timely reporting is important so that reliable warnings can be issued through official channels, Carver said.

For information about cougars and how to stay safe around them, visit the “Living with Cougars” page on the DWR website.

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