What to do if you meet a mountain lion
State wildlife officials and local investigators spent much of Wednesday afternoon investigating a possible cougar sighting at the most popular hiking spot in the Tri-Cities.
A Badger Mountain hiker called police about 10:30 a.m., saying he spotted a large cat on the south side of the Richland hill, said sheriff’s Cpl. Dan Korten. It was the second reported sighting this week.
After Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials talked with other hikers on Badger Mountain, they learned just one person believed it was a large cat, said Sgt. Brian Fulton.
Others hiking at the same time said they saw a coyote, including the Benton County sheriff’s deputy who responded to the area, Fulton said.
Wildlife officers said it’s more likely to be a coyote than a cougar.
And while coyotes pose a risk for cats, rabbits and ground squirrels, and can get into fights with dogs, they’re not a big threat to people.
The Richland area is no stranger to cougar sightings during springtime.
State biologists say cougar sightings in populated areas are usually brief as the big cats travel through the area, and attacks on humans are rare.
If a cougar approaches, the Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends keeping your eyes on the animal while making yourself appear larger while backing away slowly. Do not try to run because they may mistake you for prey, such as a deer.