Cougar tranquilized in Vancouver neighborhood

VANCOUVER, Wash. - Wildlife officials tranquilized a cougar that was wandering around a Vancouver neighborhood early Friday morning.

The cat was spotted around 1:15 a.m. near NE 117th Ave. and Major Street.

Two neighbors called the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife saying they saw the cougar.

Officials said finding a cougar in a neighborhood can be like finding a needle in a haystack, but luckily a neighbor's dog spotted the animal in a tree and started making noise.

The wildlife officials looked up and there the cougar was.

"It was up a tree already to start with, so that's always what we want to do with any cougar or bear," said Capt. Murray Schlenker with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. "This one just happened to be up a tree already so it worked out very well."

They fired three darts at the cougar and eventually it passed out.

Schlenker said it's not unusual to find a big cat in the area. Cougars cover great distances and sometimes end up in neighborhoods.

"Those animals can come and go and they get moved around. If they're too young or too old they get pushed around by more mature or physically fit animals," he said. "When they get into an urban setting like this there's a lot of pet food left out and they can make a pretty good living in this kind of setting."

This particular cougar is likely an older female. It will be relocated as part of an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service.

Wildlife officials get around one call a year about cougars in urban areas of Southwest Washington.

Several residents in Lake Oswego this week have also reported seeing cougars, although the animal or animals have not been found.