WELCHES, OR (KPTV) - Investigators have determined a Gresham woman is believed to have been killed by a cougar in the Mount Hood National Forest.
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim Tuesday as 55-year-old Diana Bober.
Bober was reported missing Sept. 7 after last being seen Aug. 29.
Sheriff: we’re working with a number of partners to address this safety concern as quickly as possible. Forensic evidence from autopsy has been flown to a lab. That trailhead is now closed. Surrounding schools have been notified. @fox12oregon https://t.co/NjQ0OZfbBc— Kelsey Watts (@KelseyWattsKPTV) September 11, 2018
Deputies Monday said they had found a female body while searching for Bober, but did not immediately identify her. They said the search had ended at that no foul play was suspected.
On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said the body was recovered off the Hunchback Trail in Welches, Oregon.
The Oregon Medical Examiner’s Office determined Bober’s injuries were consistent with a cougar attack.
Investigators said this is the first verified deadly attack by a wild cougar in Oregon.
Wildlife managers will attempt to kill the cougar responsible for the attack. Evidence from the scene is being sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland for analysis.
The hunt is on for a cougar believed to have attacked & killed a Gresham woman hiking the Hunchback Mountain trail. @MyODFW @ClackCoSheriff @ForestServiceNW all here at the Zig Zag ranger station. Authorities say if they find a cougar & DNA matches w/ victim, it will be put down. pic.twitter.com/Ub7GrBwgrq— Tyler Dumont (@TylerDumontNews) September 12, 2018
Positive identification of the responsible genus of animal will be determined using DNA samples.
“This is an unprecedented event in Oregon, we are asking people to avoid this area while we attempt to remove this cougar,” said Brian Wolfer, ODFW watershed manager. “We don’t know what risk it poses to the public.”
The Hunchback Mountain Trailhead is closed until further notice, with additional closures possible, according to deputies.
Anyone who sees a cougar is asked to call 911.
Anyone who encounters a cougar should:
- Stay calm and stand your ground.
- Maintain direct eye contact.
- Pick up any children, but do so without bending down or turning your back on the cougar.
- Back away slowly.
- Do not run. Running triggers a chase response in cougars, which could lead to an attack.
- Raise your voice and speak firmly.
- If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to make yourself look larger and clap your hands.
- If in the very unusual event that a cougar attacks you, fight back with rocks, sticks, tools or any other items available.
Currently, Oregon has about 6,600 cougars of all age classes found throughout the state. ODFW tracks conflicts with cougars—situations where they kill livestock or pets or threaten human safety by being in town repeatedly in daylight. Complaints have averaged more than 400 per year statewide for the last several years.
Poster outside Zigzag Ranger Station warns of cougars - and how to detect signs of them along the trails. pic.twitter.com/ukwWxGZJ0G— Tyler Dumont (@TylerDumontNews) September 12, 2018
Cougars can be killed by landowners or law enforcement when they cause agricultural damage or human safety issues. They can also be hunted. This attack occurred in the Santiam Wildlife Management Unit, where cougar mortalities due to damage, human safety complaints or hunting have averaged about 20 per year for the past 10 years, according to deputies and wildlife officials.
Over the weekend, deputies found Bober’s car at the Zigzag Ranger station, which is located about two miles northeast of where her body was found Monday.
The next day, they said hikers had discovered Bober’s backpack earlier and brought it to the Zigzag Ranger Station after it was closed.
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