Cougar reluctant to leave cage in Wash. state

May 24, 2012 - 1:48 PM
Exchange Reluctant Cougar

An approximately 2-year-old female cougar leaves a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife trap northeast of Arlington, Wash., Wednesday, May 23, 2012. The cougar was trapped on Tuesday when it was spotted too close to an area populated by humans. After receiving a tag, Washington wildlife agents were ready to release a captured cougar back into the wild northeast of Arlington, but it didn't want to go. They banged on the back of the cage, poked the cougar with a pole and tilted the cage and tried to slide her out, but she wouldn't budge. The Daily Herald reports a puff of pepper spray finally drove the cougar into the woods. (AP Photo/The Daily Herald, Mark Mulligan)

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — Wildlife agents in Washington state were ready to release a captured cougar back into the wild, but it didn't want to go.

They banged on the back of the cage, poked the cougar with a pole, and tried sliding the animal out by tilting the enclosure, but the young cougar wouldn't budge.

The Daily Herald reports (http://is.gd/enuQvp ) a puff of pepper spray finally drove the cougar into the woods near Arlington, about 50 miles north of Seattle.

Wildlife Officer Dave Jones fired bean-bag rounds to teach the female cougar to stay away from people. It had been captured after wandering too close to homes.

Wildlife officers estimated the 100-pound cat was about 2 years old — about the age when cougars are left by their mothers and have to find their own way.