OLALLA — State fish and wildlife officers are attempting to trap a cougar they believe killed a donkey early Monday and may be responsible for the deaths of two goats near the border of Kitsap and Pierce counties.
The mountain lion, caught on camera at a home off Bandix Road, attacked the donkey around 3 a.m. Monday. While the donkey’s owners initially believed coyotes were responsible, their surveillance footage spotted the cougar and fish and wildlife officers later confirmed the puncture wounds and evidence the donkey had been choked in the way a mountain lion kills.
The cougar may have also attacked two goats in the same area about a week prior, but fish and wildlife officers couldn’t examine the goats as their owners had already buried them, according to State Fish and Wildlife Capt. Dan Chadwick.
Fish and wildlife has maintained a trap at the Bandix Road farm, complete with a part of the donkey as bait, in an attempt to lure in the cougar. It would be euthanized if captured, Chadwick said. The cougar did return the next night but did not take the bait.
Fish and wildlife officials ask local residents to call 911 if they spot the cougar.
“The sooner that we know about it, the better,” said Becky Bennett, a fish and wildlife spokeswoman.
DFW officials also advise pet owners to feed their animals indoors and to move any pets and livestock into indoor environments, if possible, at night. Cougars are not uncommon in the Pacific Northwest.
“We’re not perceived as cougar country, but Washington state is cougar country,” said Bennett, who noted they aren’t social: “They don’t want you to be near them, and they don’t want to be near you.”
For Sher Lauderback and Lisa DeBriae, the donkey, named Willy, was a cherished farm animal who’d become much more friendly in the 25 years since Lisa had rescued him, she said in an interview Tuesday.
“Every day, I’d go out and feed him, and he’d put his head on my shoulder and nuzzle me,” she said. “He loved to play. I miss so much his braying.”
Josh Farley is a reporter covering the military for the Kitsap Sun. He can be reached at 360-792-9227, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @joshfarley.
Consider supporting local journalism in Kitsap County: Sign up for a digital subscription today.