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Family kills 3 cougars in Canyon de Chelly

Family kills 3 cougars in Canyon de Chelly


When Genny Yazzie thought of mountain lions, she used to think of the ferocious but cute Chinle Wildcat logo. Now she has a far different picture after seeing not one, not two – but three big cats at way too close a range.

The unwelcome adventure started early last Monday morning, when Yazzie, one of a handful of people who live in Canyon de Chelly full time, sent her son, Shane, down to the De Chelly Wash to assess the rising water level after recent rains and snows.

“While Shane was walking back, I went out to the sheep corral,” she recalled in an interview Tuesday. “I saw all these little humps, and it gradually dawned on me they were dead sheep!” At first, Yazzie blamed the new sheepdog. “I said, ‘If that dog did this, we’re going to have to put her down!’” she recalled.

“Shane said, ‘Mom, I don’t think it was her.’” Yazzie counted seven dead sheep, and could see part of another one sticking out of the small shed in the corral. Yazzie peeked into the shed and came face to face with a cougar. “We just looked at each other,” she said. “It wasn’t five feet from me.”

About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at


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