UPDATE September 14th 2018
ODWF has now announced the removal of an adult female cougar in the area where Diana Bober’s backpack was found. There is no evidence available yet to link this cougar with the fatal attack on Diana. ODFW does, however, speculate, that the cougar’s proximity to the scene is indicative of known cougar behavior.
In an astonishing statement, ODFW has said it will continue to kill cougars in the area until a ‘match’ is found.
For the second time this year, the awful news has come across our devices, our TV’s or been heard on the radio….there have been not one, but two, tragic human deaths in 2018 associated with the elusive, powerful, and yes, still wild, mountain lion.
While it is true that human deaths caused by mountain lions are extremely rare, and in the last 125 years, fatal human tragedy has occurred just 27 times, it is also true that no statistic or opinion will ease the grief of loved ones who have suffered such a loss. Our priority must always be with the families of victims, who are so in need of our compassion and respect; and with the passage of time necessary for the professionals to do their job in discovering what might have happened.
A tragedy like this should not become a mission to apportion blame or promote any particular agenda. As more details unfold, there will be a chance for all of us to become informed based on fact and not conjecture.
We urge the authorities in Oregon to take a measured and proactive approach, that does NOT include random killing of cougars in the area, where this tragic interaction happened. Please take the time to sedate, examine, and take pathological samples from any lions you find, fit them with gps collars and await the results of all forensic investigation, before deciding which lion, and why (disease, starvation, disability, injury, poisoning, reproductive status, age and condition) was involved. Whatever decision you then make will be a response to the type of evidence your scientists hold in high regard and NOT a reaction to appease fear and provide a false sense of security for the understandably concerned public.
Compassion and perspective are the best tools for both managers and the public when dealing with such primal events.