Cougars have been seen near Ashland's White Rabbit Trail

Ashland officials have received several reports of cougar sightings on or near the White Rabbit Trail in the Ashland watershed above Park Street. Signs have been posted alerting trail users and providing information on what to do if you encounter a cougar. The city cautions trail users to be aware and exercise caution while on the White Rabbit Trail and nearby trails.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife encourages hikers to walk in groups and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Fish and wildlife officials say that if a cougar is encountered, a person should stay calm, stand still and maintain direct eye contact.

Never turn away from a cougar, just back away slowly. Never run because this triggers a chase response in cougars. If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to look bigger, clap your hands, raise your voice and speak firmly. In the unlikely event that a cougar attacks, fight back vigorously with whatever is at hand — even rocks or sticks.

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