ODFW defends killing of cougar

An Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife official this morning defended his agency's actions in killing a cougar that could have fatally attacked a woman in late August near Mount Hood.

Brian Wolfer, ODFW watershed manager, held a press conference this morning, which was live-streamed on Facebook. Asked how he would respond to social media criticism after agency hunters killed a cougar Friday without knowing for certain it was the offending animal, he said , " ... my number one priority has to be human safety."

Referencing the family of the victim, Diana Bober, Wolfer said, "We have to ensure that no other family has to go through what they have had to go through."

He said the cougar needs to tracked down. "I do believe the cougar that killed Diana is a safety risk. This is not normal for a cougar to attack a person."

Wolfer said the hunt for the killer cougar was focused on what would likely be the "home range" of the cougar. He said after crews and mules endured a day Friday with elevation gains of more than a mile during their search in "very, very rugged terrain," they would not be sent back out today.

Wolfer described the episode as "a tremendously emotional week for me," and paused as he appeared to briefly choke up while discussing it.

"That pales in comparison to the loss they've had," he said of Bober's family. "We have every responsibility to ensure that no other family has to go through that."

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