With more than 230 cougar reports filed to the Conservation Officer Service in the Comox Valley since April 1, officials are reminding the public to be extra diligent with fruit trees and garbage.
Conservation Officer Steve Petrovcic said there have been 238 calls directly related to cougars, including a recent attack on livestock in Royston last week.
Petrovcic explained a cougar’s diet on Vancouver Island is comprised between 95 to 98 per cent of blacktail deer.
“Many cougar conflicts have involved younger cats,” he said. “There is the urban deer issue, but they also can go after pets and livestock.”
He added, like bears who are actively loading up on calories before the winter hibernation, cougars are opportunistic and will seek out garbage or fruit left on trees when they are hungry.
“We want to remind the public to educate yourself on the dos and don’ts when you see a cougar.”
If outdoors, tips include making noise, and if approached by a cougar, to maintain eye contact, stand square to the animal, pick up small pets and children, try to appear larger and never turn away or run.
If the animals begins to display aggressive behaviour, throw rocks or sticks.
Petrovcic said prompt reporting to the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277 aids in tracking and locating the cats.
“The public using the call centre is key,” he added.
“We can prioritize our responses and it’s always opportunistic when we have an understanding of sightings as soon as possible.”
Since April 1, There have been 24 cougar reports in Comox, 74 in Cumberland, 21 in Royston and 119 in Courtenay.
For more information, visit www.env.gov.bc.ca/cos.