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Swimming Cougar Surprises Water Skiers on Washington-Area Lake

Jordan Kirbyson

Cougars can often be found around water. Going for a full on swim – now that’s a bit unheard of!

Jordan Kirbyson, his father, and a neighbor had just finished a morning water ski on June 5. The day was beautiful – and not a ripple was to be found on Lake Whatcom, located in Bellingham, Washington. But at 8 am they spotted something swimming in the distance that had them scratching their heads.

Thinking it was an otter or possibly a deer, they motored over for a closer look. It was then that the trio realized a cougar was keeping them company on the lake. The men kept their distance, taking photographs and shooting a video, as the cougar made the nearly half mile swim from the island near Camp Firewood to Hertz Trail at North Lake Whatcom Park.

Swim2

“It’s not surprising for a cougar to be in and around water. They’re not afraid of it, but immersing its body in water and swimming, that was unusual. I’ve never heard or seen anything like this in Whatcom County. That’s an amazing thing, amazing,” said Dave Jones, a state Fish & Wildlife game warden in Whatcom County.

A pretty incredible experience for these three water skier – and one that was nicely captured on film.

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Swimming Cougar Surprises Water Skiers on Washington-Area Lake