The number of cougar sightings in Olympic National Park has remained fairly constant in the past eight years since wildlife biologists began monitoring reports of the big cats.
But human interactions with cougars are increasing in areas outside park boundaries due to growing populations, wildlife biologists say.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates 2,500 cougars live in the state, mostly in the eastern Okanogan highlands, Selkirk Mountains and the Blue Mountains of Eastern Washington.
Cougars also live in the Cascade Mountains, Olympic Mountains and Willapa Hills of Western Washington.
State Fish and Wildlife officers respond to more than 500 reports each year of urban sightings, human confrontations and attacks on livestock and pets.
Olympic National Park receives reports of about 40 cougar sightings on average each year, said Patti Happe, park wildlife management biologist.The rest of this story appears in today’s Peninsula Daily News. Click on “Subscribe” to get the PDN delivered to your home or office.