PORTLAND – Parents of students at a Beaverton elementary school have been warned about a possible wild cougar roaming in the area.
Ridgewood Elementary School received two separate reports of cougar sightings over the last two days within a mile of campus, according to Beaverton School District spokeswoman Maureen Wheeler.
Even though authorities have not found or seen the cougar, the school staff still warned parents, urging them to talk to their kids about what to do if they are confronted by the wild animal.
One week ago, cougar sightings were reported in the Hayhurst neighborhood of Southwest Portland. That cougar was described as quite large and it was spotted in the morning near Pendleton Park, at 6030 Southwest 55th Drive.
Several officers searched the area and spoke to some neighbors, including one who said the cougar had been in the area the past few days. Hayhurst Elementary School was locked down for about an hour, as a safety precaution.
Authorities were not able to find that cougar, either.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife also shared these tips for anyone who may encounter a wild cougar:
- STOP - Never approach a cougar at any time for any reason.
- STAY CALM - Face the cougar and do not turn your back towards it. Do not run. Running encourages it to chase.
- APPEAR LARGE - Make yourself look large. Do not bend over or crouch down. Raise your hands. Hold your coat open. Hold small children.
- FIGHT BACK - Fight back if attacked.
- MAKE NOISE - Make noise while hiking to reduce the chance of surprising a cougar.
- KEEP CHILDREN CLOSE - Always keep children close by and in sight.
- AVOID WALKING ALONE
KGW Reporter Erica Heartquist contributed to this report.