Reports of a wild cougar roaming around downtown Salt Lake City began coming around 4 p.m. on Friday, but officers from the Department of Wildlife Resources weren’t able to locate the animal until early Saturday morning.
According to Sgt. Ray Loken of the DWR, they shot the 90-pound cougar before 4 a.m. near a Ballpark after some teens noticed the beast prowling around their neighborhood.
Amber Hobbs, 16, saw the cougar and told her parents to call the police, but they weren’t believed at first.
“We ran around our house for, like, 10 minutes trying to decide if it was real or not ’cause they thought we were lying,” said Amber.
Cougars travel at night, said Loken, adding that it’s unusual for a cougar to get so far into an urban area without detection. He hypothesized that the big cat was a juvenile that probably got lost looking for a new territory.
The timing was bad for the cougar. “If it was daylight hours we would do everything we could to get the animal tranquilized and removed for the animal’s safety, but after dark, we do not tranquilize,” Loken said noting that it’s a matter of public safety. “Normally we wouldn’t want to have to do that, but it’s late at night, we’re in a very populated area, there are people walking around,” he said. “Safety was the utmost concern for the public. If we were unable to find it and somebody had come out and tried to pick up their paper or just do whatever and run into it, there could be some serious consequences.”
The dead cougar will be autopsied at DWR’s Springville office by a biologist to see if there’s a reason why the cougar was lost in town.
H/T: Fox News
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