Family sees possible cougar in Salem neighborhood - KPTV - FOX 12

Caught on camera

Family sees possible cougar in Salem neighborhood

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Big cat caught on camera Big cat caught on camera
Field where big cat was spotted near Ellen Lane Community Garden Field where big cat was spotted near Ellen Lane Community Garden
SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

A Northwest Salem neighborhood is on alert after a possible cougar sighting was caught on camera.

The cougar sightings started near the Ellen Lane Community Garden located at 3100 Garrett Drive NW a few weeks ago and are mostly early in the morning or late in the evening.

One woman told FOX 12 she saw a cougar in the field on Tuesday afternoon but the animal was gone when police showed up.

Neighbors said they've spotted a big cat a few times and on Monday night, they got it on video.

The Venti family recorded the video around 8 p.m. on Monday.

The video shows a big cat in a field just a few hundred yards from homes and the community garden.

People said when they first started seeing the animal they weren't sure if it was a bobcat or a cougar, but neighbors said they've seen the animal with the long tail typical of a cougar on Monday and again on Tuesday.

7-year-old Nolan Venti put up a warning sign in the community garden after spotting the big cat last month.

Nolan and his twin sister Mila have been watching out for cougars very closely since then.

"Well it was a lot closer than I ever expected it to get. One time it was over by the tree and then it was like 20 feet away from that gate, so that was kind of terrifying. Then last night it was hunting, that was the normal time they hunt so we got to see it for a good 15 minutes," said Nolan Venti.

"It's a little bit alarming but these guys are pretty safe. We stay back from the fences and they know to stay in the garden. They don't come out here by themselves. It's exciting to see," said Nolan's dad, Conrad Venti.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said cougar sightings aren't uncommon, but it is concerning when there are multiple sightings near residential areas in the day.

If you see a cougar stay calm, back away slowly and do not run.

For more tips and information from ODFW, visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/cougars.asp.

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