The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has proposed new rule changes for cougar management (WAC 232-12-243) that promote killing cougars just so rural residents feel safer.
Luckily, a few of the WDFW wardens and biologists working in the field know better. They understand the importance of preserving cougars' natural social structure and realize that teaching wandering cats "human-populated areas are no good" is a much more successful public safety plan than killing cougars. Officers are using the latest science and a management technique called "hard release" to relocate cougars that accidentally wander into our cities. After being captured and relocated away from town, the cougar is released and hazed with both non-lethal bullets and a fearless karelian bear dog. Having this negative experience reduces conflicts because the cougar learns to stay away from people.
Despite the proposed rule change that promotes lethally removing cougars, on Tuesday WDFW officers once again chose the better option of hard-release. A cougar seen hanging around homes in a residential area near Enumclaw and Auburn was captured. It was then fitted with a tracking collar and hard-released back into the wild. Officers reported everything went perfectly and according to plan. The cat's movements will be monitored (via the collar) to see where it heads next and to help increase our understanding of the species. View or leave comments on this article.
Be sure to check out the video of this hard-release: