By Marcie Miller
A young female cougar that was hit and killed Tuesday morning on the Tulalip reservation may gain a permanent place in the tribe — as a stuffed memento.
The cougar was hit by a truck, which did not stop, at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday on Marine Drive near Meridian Avenue, according to tribal communications director Lita Sheldon. The cat was approximately 6 feet 9 inches long and weighed 102 pounds.
Tribal members asked state Department of Fish and Wildlife agent Sgt. Randy Lambert if they could keep the cougar for ceremonial purposes. He told them he didn’t have a problem with that, although motorists who hit and kill animals are not normally allowed to keep them.
"I don’t have any heartburn about allowing them to have it," he said.
The state usually picks up and disposes of roadkill. Lambert said in the case of a cougar, they may bury it somewhere in the wild.
The cougar became the subject of general interest after it was taken to the tribal maintenance yard, Sheldon said. The tribe has not finalized plans for what it wants to do with the cougar, but she said having it stuffed is one possibility.
Lambert said cougar sightings on the reservation are not unusual.
There are many houses in the area, and tribal members speculated that this may be the same cougar sighted in the area in the last week, Sheldon said.
If people call and complain about a cougar prowling their property and they fear for their livestock or pets, they may shoot the cougar if necessary, but they must then notify Fish and Wildlife, Lambert said.
In 25 years of working for Fish and Wildlife, Lambert said he has never heard of anyone finding a dead cougar and taking it home. Sometimes universities are interested in acquiring roadkill cougars for research purposes, he added.
You can call Herald Writer Marcie Miller at 425-339-3292
or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.