Last Friday afternoon, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) proved once again that they don't care how other states handle wandering mountain lions by first capturing and then killing a young dispersing lion found in the rural community of Bend, Oregon.
It all started when local law enforcement officers responded to a call from a resident who said that a mountain lion was lounging high in a tree in the forested area behind his house. At first there was some disbelief on the part of the First Responders, but that quickly changed once they arrived on the scene.
"A lot of times we get calls about cougars, and they're not -- it's just a really large cat," said Bend Police Corporal Rob Emerson. "It was in fact a cougar, so it was kind of exciting."
Officers from the Bend Police Department quickly contained the area and a ODFW biologist climbed onto a nearby roof and shot the animal with a tranquilizer rifle.
Once the lion had fallen asleep, "We climbed the tree, hooked a rope over it and lowered him down," said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Corey Heath. A team then lifted the cougar into a box and took it to ODFW offices.
Heath said that the lion was a young male, weighing approximately 120 pounds and was most likely just passing through the area looking for deer that have come down from higher elevations for the winter.
At this point in either Washington or California the lion would have been moved further from town and released back into the wild, but not in Oregon.
"A male adult cat in the middle of Bend is a human safety condition," Heath said. "We're not going to move that animal to become a problem in some other town, some other community."
Heath went on to excuse ODFW's actions by claiming that catch-and-release efforts often don't work.
Heath did not explain why the animal had to be removed from the public's view before it was killed or why ODFW refuses to implement proven non-lethal relocation procedures now used by several state game agencies.