Prowling cougar caught on camera near Oregon elementary school

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   May 15, 2017 at 11:28 AM
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May 15 (UPI) -- Authorities in Oregon are warning residents to be on the lookout for a cougar caught on camera by a resident near an elementary school.

The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office confirmed deputies have been patrolling the Sweetbriar neighborhood in Troutdale since the first reported mountain lion sighting May 7, and the big cat was photographed by resident Mariella Marquez after her father alerted her to the cougar's presence outside their home.

"I was actually kind of scared," Marquez told KATU-TV. "I was like, what if it tries to come through the window, what if it goes through the door or something? Yeah, it was scary."

Marquez snapped a photo of the cougar from inside her living room window.

"When I first saw it I was pretty surprised, I mean that's something you think you'd see at the zoo not like in your back yard or front yard. When someone walked by we tried to get them in. But yeah, it was pretty scary," she told KGW-TV.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon State Police confirmed they were investigating alongside the sheriff's office.

Residents said the nearby Sweetbriar Elementary School sent out a notice last week warning parents about recent big cat sightings in the area. Debbie Jensen, who works at the school, said staff have been carrying walkie talkies when outside with students, and the kids are being kept confined to a small area of the playground for added safety.

"They've got them in a covered area so they have more control over them, normally [they're in a bigger area]," Jensen said.

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