Cougar sightings have Aberdeen neighbors a bit anxious

Cougars spotted on surveillance cameras in Aberdeen (Photos provided to KOMO News)

ABERDEEN, Wash. -- Several communities in Aberdeen are a bit on edge after two cougars have been spotted taking up residence in the neighborhood.

Aberdeen is surrounded by a national park and a national forest and is covered with trees as far as the eye can see.

"It's butted up to the forest. And we are gonna have wildlife coming in and out," said Scott Harris with the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife.

One of the sightings was on June 1 at John O'Brien's home.

"I heard this commotion out in the backyard, I heard something flopping around, then I heard struggles and I thought, 'what is going on out there?' " O'Brien said. "Then, I opened the door and... the cat was killing this deer, then it hauled it up into the woods behind the house."

That cat was a good-sized cougar.

Harris says a mother cougar and a younger cougar have been spotted in daylight the Scammel Hill, Bel-Aire and North Aberdeen neighbors.

"It's strange to be very apprehensive when walking around our property," said Leslie O'Brien.

The cougars are leaving neighbors worried about the safety of their children, pets and more. But Harris has some reassuring words:

"If we felt there was a real public safety risk, we would probably acting more decisively in trying to remove those cougars."

Fish and Wildlife officials say the cougars have also killed three chickens, but have not threatened harm to anyone else. On the other hand, moving the cougars could create much more of a problem.

Neighbor John Kugen says the cougars are keeping deer of out his yard.

"If they want to stay around here and mind their own business, then they are fine," Kugen said.

But for John O'Brien, the day he saw one of the cougars laying in the sun in his front yard, and the countless pictures captured on his wildlife camera, have been enough to cause deep concern.

"They are very brazen," he said. "Something got to be done."

Fish and Wildlife officials are wanting to keep track of cougar sightings in that area. If you see one, you can contact the WDFW directly.

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