Cougar swims to new home on Vashon Island

VASHON ISLAND, Wash. -- Residents on Vashon Island are used to wildlife sightings, but not like what they've seen recently. A cougar has taken up residence on the island after swimming from the Kitsap Peninsula during a minus tide.

The cougar sightings began about a month ago, with close encounters in some cases.

Recently, the Vashon Nature Center has set up wildlife cameras to track the cougar's movement. There are deer and other food sources for the cougar, but it will likely leave the island someday to find a mate.

"A cougar's range is about 50-150 square miles, and Vashon Island is only about 35 square miles. We aren't aware of any females out here," said naturalist Kelly Keenan.

There have been no reports of any animal depredations related to the cougar. It appears to be living around the Maury Island area, where most of the sightings and tracks have been confirmed.

It is extremely rare to see a cougar, much less on Vashon Island, according to WDFW Sgt. Kim Chandler.

Tidal charts show a minus tide during the next couple days, but only minimal ones. 

Copyright 2016 KING


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