Police say a 55-year-old woman whose body was found at the bottom of a ravine on Monday was likely killed by a wild cougar, marking the first death of its kind in Oregon.
Diana Bober, an experienced hiker, was last seen on Aug. 29 when she set out for a hike on Oregon mountain’s famous Hunchback Trail, according to ABC News. On Monday, authorities found her dead at the bottom of a 200-foot ravine after her car was found abandoned in a parking lot and two hikers found her backpack, the site reported.
“I want to tell you that Diana Bober’s autopsy was today. It was determined that she died of an apparent animal attack,” Clackamas County sheriff Craig Roberts said in a press conference on Tuesday.
“Her injuries are indicative of what experts believe to be that of a cougar. We’re waiting for final confirmation of what type of animal was responsible for this attack.”
Out-of-state relatives reported Bober missing after not hearing from her since Aug. 29, The Oregonian reports. Bober’s family told the publication that she was an avid hiker who loved the outdoors.
“She would go hiking several times a week,” Bober’s siter, Alison Bober, told The Oregonian. “She was very independent and always felt very safe on the trails.
Alison, who lives in Virginia, said that her sister fought the cougar, adding that “although [Bober] died of her wounds, the wild animal didn’t come back to her.”
Bober was the first known person to be killed by a cougar in the wild in Oregon, which is home to about 6,600 cougars, according to the Associated Press. Wildlife officials said they hope to find and kill the cougar and check for a DNA match with that left on Bober, the AP reported.
Alison told the site that her sister did all she could to survive, fighting off the animal with a sharp object, a stick and repellant spray.
“She was petite, but she was strong,” Alison said of her sister’s 5-foot-4 frame.
Brian Wolfer of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said at a Wednesday news conference that officials aren’t looking to “kill a large number of cougars.” However, he acknowledged that several may die in the search for the one that attacked Bober.
However, Alison said that the fact that cougars could be killed “would grieve my sister,” but noted to the AP that she agrees with whatever approach wildlife officials decide to take.