New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Contact: Ross Morgan, 505-222-4707
ross.morgan@state.nm.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,  Feb. 5, 2007:

Cougar Sightings Increase Due to Heavy Snowfall  

ALBUQUERQUE - This winter's heavy snowfall has driven deer and elk to lower elevations than typical during the last decade of drought.   Combined with continued residential development in traditional deer and elk wintering grounds, the table is now set for increased sightings of cougars near housing areas.

Since Christmas, the Department of Game and Fish has received regular reports of cougars near Tesuque. Cougar reports expanded to include La Cienega, southwest of Santa Fe and the Barranca Mesa, near Los Alamos , last weekend.

"The cougars aren't causing any problems at this time," said Officer Tim Frybarger, Chama District Supervisor.  "The residents just thought it would be a good idea to let everyone know that there are cougars in these areas," Frybarger said.

Residents of cougar country should take a few precautions to avoid encounters with the large predators:

Attacks are very rare, however, anyone who actually encounters a cougar should not try to run away. Running could trigger the animal's attack instinct.

Other actions to take during a cougar encounter are:

Anyone with questions about large predators should call the Department of Game and Fish and request the "Living With Large Predators" brochure. It includes these tips, plus information about black bears, coyotes and bobcats.

The brochure also appears on the Department web site at www.wildlife.state.nm.us/.

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