Utah Wildlife News
Friday, 08 January 2010 12:55
Cougars usually avoid people, but it's best to play it safe.
Dave Swenson has patrolled Utah's backcountry for almost 30 years. During that time, the veteran wildlife officer has seen a cougar only five times.
And each time, the cougar was running away from him.
Photo by Lynn Chamberlain
"It's very, very rare to see or come in contact with a cougar," the Division of Wildlife Resources officer says. "Cougars usually go out of their way to avoid people."
Swenson says cougars are also secretive animals. And they usually come out only at night.
While it's very rare to see a cougar, if you do see one, it will probably be in the winter.
"Deer are the main animal that cougars prey on this time of the year," Swenson says. "In the winter, the snow covers the vegetation at higher elevations. That forces the deer to travel to lower elevations to find food. And the cougars come right down with them."
If you live in cougar country, Swenson provides the following tips to lessen the chance that you come in contact with a cougar:
Here are three things you can do if you encounter a cougar:
Here are two things you can do to avoid encountering a cougar in the first place:
More tips about how to stay safe in cougar country are available on the DWR's website.
"As Utah's population grows, more and more people are moving into areas where wildlife live," Swenson says. "If we're going to move into their homes, then it's important that we learn how to live with them. If we do that, both wildlife and people can have a good experience."
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