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Cougar sightings prompt trail warnings

October 12, 2018
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Elizabeth Markwood of Anacortes returns from a walk Wednesday along the Skagit Regional Airport trail near Ovenell Road. Recent cougar sightings have prompted port officials to post temporary warnings. Markwood said she saw three deer but no cougars.

The Port of Skagit is warning people of cougar sightings in the area around Skagit Regional Airport over the past three weeks.

The state Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office have been notified of the sightings, said port Community Outreach Administrator Andrew Entrikin.

Signs warning people of the sightings have been posted on the trails near the airport.

“The community is advised to take caution while using Port of Skagit nature trails,” Entrikin said in an email.

According to its Facebook page, the Burlington Police Department also took a report of a cougar sighting near a trail off Lafayette Road in mid-September.

According to Fish & Wildlife, anyone who encounters a cougar should stop and stand tall — do not run or attempt to hide. Attempt to appear larger than the cougar, and do not take your eyes off the animal.

Do not approach the animal, the department warns, especially if it has kittens around or is near a kill.

If the animal appears aggressive, the department advises people to shout, wave their arms and throw rocks. If the cougar attacks, fight back.

To report a sighting, call 425-775-1311. If the animal poses an immediate danger, call 911.

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