HILLSBORO, Ore. – City park officials have closed the trails in Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve Thursday after two reported cougar sightings Thursday.
In all three sightings of a cougar has been reported this week.
The city is investigating and has asked the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for help. The trails will remain closed until further notice.
A homeowner called Hillsboro Parks & Recreation at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday and told employees that she had seen what she thought was a cougar in a tree on the north side of the 635-acre preserve, which is adjacent to a residential neighborhood.
She said the animal, which she described as being about the size of a golden retriever with a long tail, was not acting aggressively and left on its own.
Stan Hayes, a farmer who lives across the street from the preserve, said he came face to face with a cougar. He also described it to be bigger than a golden retriever.
"They are 110 percent muscle," he said. "There is no little kitty cat about this animal, and you see every inch of it when it looks at you."
He now carries a handgun for protection.
On Monday, someone hiking on a trail reported seeing a cougar on the east side of the preserve.
So far officials have not seen any evidence to confirm there is a cougar in the area, and after searching throughout Thursday afternoon, ODFW employees couldn't find any trace of one. But the city wants residents to be aware of their surroundings.
Living with wildlife – Cougars