A false alarm triggered fear of a cougar in Tigard, Oregon on Thursday
A false alarm in Oregon led to a city-wide warning about a potential cougar on the loose.
On Thursday, an animal was spotted in Cook Park in Tigard, Ore. The person who spotted the creature believed it could've been a cougar — also known as a mountain lion. The city's public works department shared the news in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter) and encouraged residents to "be aware of your surroundings and leash up your dogs."
The following day, the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) debunked the sighting after it was reported to them by Tigard's public works department.
"That 'cougar' spotted at Cook Park in Tigard yesterday? Turns out it was a house cat," the ODFW wrote in a post as they retweeted a similar false report from Mississippi in 2017, where a house cat was mistaken for a cougar. "This happens more than you think."
The agency elaborated in another post about how officers distinguished between a cougar and a house cat when analyzing the blurry video of the suspected cougar in Cook Park that a resident captured.
"The video is grainy, but the #1 indicator is its size compared to the tree and compost/garbage bin," a follow-up tweet said. "Also the fence is likely 6 foot which puts the cat at less than 1 foot in height."
The ODFW added that the animal's "coloration" provided another clue that it was not a cougar.
"It's not the right tan and looks more like an orange house cat," a third post said. "You'd be surprised how often other animals (dogs, house cats, coyotes, bobcats) are reported as cougar sightings."
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In light of the ODFW's announcement that the animal was not a cougar, the Tigard public works department replied, describing the update as "great news."
It also noted that the town "has had confirmed sightings [of cougars] in the past," but "thankfully, this time around, it was not one."
"It's better to be cautious and aware, and our community's vigilance is greatly appreciated. Thank you @MyODFW for your assistance!"
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