Another possible Tri-Cities cougar sighting. What to do if you see one.

Courtesy Ryan McMullan
·2 min read

Cougar sightings in the Tri-Cities are rare, but this year more and more have been spotted near populated areas. On Monday night another possible mountain lion was spotted in a residential Kennewick neighborhood near Highway 240.

A woman sitting on her porch said she spotted the cougar walking beside her neighbor’s house on Arrowhead Avenue near Osborne Street around 11 p.m., said Staci Lehman with the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

There were no other reports of the animal and it wasn’t caught on camera.

The neighborhood is directly across the highway from Columbia Park.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office posted a notice about the animal on Facebook.

The sheriff’s office is asking anyone who spots a cougar to contact deputies through the non-emergency dispatch line at 509-628-0333.

While cougars are normally a rare sight in the Tri-Cities, they have shown up several times this year. Starting with a wounded animal that was spotted several times wandering through Kennewick in late March.

Workers discovered the cat in an orchard south of Kennewick and called police. Benton County deputies tried to get the animal to leave, but needed to shoot it after it started stalking them.

The next day another animal was spotted in the early morning at Road 90 and Sandifur Parkway in Pasco.

Then on April 4 workers at a subdivision being built at Clodfelter and Tripple Vista roads just south of Kennewick spotted a cougar in the middle of the day, but it wasn’t seen again.

On May 19, another cougar was spotted. This time running across the cover of a swimming pool in a house not far from Zintel Canyon.

Cougar safety

While multiple sightings are unusual, they are not a reason to panic, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Jason Fidorra told the Herald in April.

A mountain lion in a residential area doesn’t want to be there and is looking to escape the area. They normally avoid contact with humans.

Cougar attacks on humans are extremely rare, the state’s cougar information website shows. As of 2018, there had been two fatal encounters with the big cats across 98 years of records.

People should still be cautious if they see one, and not approach it.

If you encounter one on a trail, make yourself look big, be aggressive and throw something at the cat if it doesn’t back down. Do not run away.