Oregon wildlife officials shot and killed a female cougar in the Mount Hood National Forest in Clackamas County on Friday while searching for the mountain lion that killed a hiker whose remains were found last week.
But it will take at least three days to determine if this cougar played any role in the death of 55-year-old Diana Bober as officials await DNA testing results from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Lab in Ashland, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The agency will try to compare DNA samples taken from Bober to samples from the cougar killed Friday to determine if it’s the same one.
Wildlife officials, along with mules and tracking dogs, on Thursday began traversing the Hunchback Mountain Trail area in Welches, where Bober’s body was found Monday, hoping to find the cougar suspected in the killing. They found no cougars Thursday.
The hounds picked up a cougar’s scent and tracked the mountain lion up a tree around 3 p.m. Friday. The cougar, which didn’t have kittens, was then shot with a rifle.
The state fish and wildlife department said it plans to keep searching for cougars until it can determine which animal was responsible for Bober’s death.
Oregon has about 6,600 cougars, and they typically travel alone, wildlife authorities said. The state wildlife department receives about 400 complaints a year of cougars injuring livestock or threatening the safety of people or pets, he said. Attacks on people are rare.
It’s believed to be the first fatal wild cougar attack in Oregon.
Bober was reported missing by out-of-state relatives on Sept. 7, Gresham police said. Her family described her as an avid hiker who frequented the Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge area. She hadn’t been heard from since Aug. 29.
Bober’s car was found last Saturday at the Zigzag Ranger Station, about 17 miles east of Sandy. Her remains were discovered by search and rescue crews two days later, two miles from the ranger station in the Mount Hood National Forest in Welches off the Hunchback Trail.