We will continue to update this blog post with most current wildlife sightings. Click Read more to view. We hope you enjoy learning more about our varied and interesting wildlife on Vashon!
Please note: accuracy is important to us. We only post sightings that have been confirmed with a photo or expert confirmed track. We receive too many widespread reports to determine the accuracy of word of mouth reports. However, we do log all reports we get and use these in conjunction with our wildcam network photos to help investigate broad questions of range, timing and extent of animal movement, as well as when new animals arrive on the island. We share our sightings database information with wildlife and land management agencies including WDFW, King County, and the Land Trust to help them in assessing wildlife use. Thank you to all islanders who participate in our wildcam network and tell us about your sightings. We couldn’t do this without you. It is truly a community science effort.
The Vashon 2016-2017 cougar was killed on August 15, 2017: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife killed the most recent cougar on Vashon for livestock depredation on August 15, 2017. Below we share a poem by VNC’s Outreach coordinator Kathryn True in remembrance of his life here. May we learn more tolerance and prepare ourselves better for the next cougar. It is possible to live with wildlife on these islands:
Eulogy for the Cougar –Aug. 15, 2017
Wolverines have culture, same as people do, but they all look the same to some people because they carry it in their heads. —Elisha, Lessons from the Wolverine, Barry Lopez
Even raven is less wary now that you’re gone.
Her black eye already holds your stories,
the ones we repeat to make sense of ourselves.
You knew this island like no other will,
slipping between clay walls of forgotten ravines,
meditating on droplets from hidden headwaters,
claiming driftwood rooms under winter’s gaze.
Curiosity led you to pace our fence lines.
You didn’t distinguish between farm and field,
calculate the consequences of crossing unknown boundaries,
or comprehend forbidden prey.
Yours was the life of the nomad,
holy at its essence
for its bright-sharp edge of survival.
We are worn soft by our luxuries; instincts dulled.
We boasted of you to city friends,
flaunting our brush with wildness.
Your gift woke us to our animal place,
to remind us that we are fauna, too.
At the end, we could not tolerate you,
could not reconcile wild and tame.
In the wake of your death, we are uneasy,
our home forests surprisingly empty.
You were a bridge to the ancient.
Your presence made us pay attention—
listen, connect, wonder.
Now you haunt the late summer grasses
and visit us in our dreams,
singing in your language.
We may never know your culture,
but we can strive to understand our own,
and perhaps recover some of our own wildness,
in translating stone, creek, moon.
Last eight confirmed sightings of the island cougar: 5/27/2017–private wildcam, Cove Rd at 9:20 pm; 5/27/2017–VNC wildlife camera, Fisher Pond at 11:52 pm. 6/12/2017–confirmed photo of tracks on beach just north of Magnolia beach near Shawnee heading south; 6/18/2017—wildlife camera photo near Vashon Winery area upper Needle Creek. 7/15/2017–VNC wildlife camera in Fisher Pond preserve. Cove Road private wildlife camera 7/27/2017, Frog Holler area, 7/29/2017, VNC wildlife camera; Cemetery area, August 15th, 2017, cougar caught in a trap by WDFW after killing a miniature donkey.
We only post sightings that are confirmed with a photo or track. last updated: September 9, 2017.
As the above sightings show, cougars are wide ranging animals so they can move quite far in just a few hours. For this reason, we do not recommend using sightings data as a livestock and pet protection tool.