Hagerman residents on edge after cougar sighting

New Mexico

HAGERMAN, N.M. (KRQE) – A southeast New Mexico police department is warning residents to keep pets inside and don’t leave kids unattended outside after a large cougar was spotted in Hagerman.

“If my son wouldn’t have put the cameras out here, we wouldn’t have seen him. There’s no telling how long he’s been out here,” said Mike Hernandez the homeowner.

Hagerman residents were surprised to learn a cougar has been roaming the streets. Mike Hernandez said his son installed a camera but they did not expect to see what they did last week.

Mike, his son, and his neighbor went into the backyard and found the tracks. They called the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish who confirmed it was a large cougar. Now residents are on edge, especially after they have heard of pets going missing.

“Some people lost five other cats, they thought it was rottweilers at first, but now they say well it must have been the cat that killed them,” said Mike.

On Saturday the Hagerman Police Department posted to Facebook confirming the local cougar sighting and warned residents that it is roaming in the residential areas and to use caution.

“That’s what really bothers me because a bunch of little kids ride around on bikes, especially late in the afternoon, and if they’re still around here, well they’re easy prey for them,” said Rudy Medrano, a neighbor.

This is the second cougar spotted in Chaves County after one was struck by a pickup last month in Roswell. Wildlife officials say it is rare for cougars to be spotted in these places. They believe drought conditions have caused animals to search for food.

The Hagerman Police Chief Rachelle Bateman said they have had two sheep and a goat, they believe, the cougar killed. She also said two officers with the department are actively searching for the animal.

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