There have been two reported cougar sightings in West Courtenay in recent days.
A cougar and cougar cub were spotted in Roy Morrison Nature Park, off Arden Road, on Sept. 21. On Sept. 25, a second cougar sighting at Malcolm Morrison Senior Park, on Embleton Crescent, prompted local conservation officers to attend. They searched the area with cougar hounds, but were unable to locate any cougars.
The Ministry of the Environment provides the following guidelines in the event that you do encounter a cougar:
• Stay calm and keep the cougar in view. Pick up children immediately – children frighten easily, the noise and movements they make could provoke an attack. Back away slowly, ensuring that the animal has a clear avenue of escape. Make yourself look as large as possible. Keep the cougar in front of you at all times.
• Never run or turn your back on a cougar. Sudden movement may provoke an attack.
• If a cougar shows interest or follows you, respond aggressively. Maintain eye contact with the cougar, show your teeth and make loud noise. Arm yourself with rocks or sticks as weapons. Crouch down as little as possible when bending down to pick up things off of the ground.
• If a cougar attacks, fight back. Convince the cougar you are a threat and not prey. Use anything you can as a weapon. Focus your attack on the cougar’s face and eyes.
Keeping your pets safe
• Roaming pets are easy prey for cougars, keep them leashed or behind a fence
• Bring your pet in at night. If the pet must be left out at night confine it to a kennel with a secure top.
• Don’t feed the pet outside. The pet food might attract young cougars or small animals such as squirrels or raccoons which cougars prey upon.
• Place domestic livestock in an enclosed shed or barn at night.
What to do if you observe dangerous wildlife?
If you observe dangerous wildlife in an urban area involved in any of the following, please report the incident to the Ministry of Environment’s 24 hour, toll free call centre at: 1-877-952-7277
• Accessing garbage or other human supplied food sources
• Instances where wildlife cannot be easily scared off
• Dangerous wildlife is in a public location like a city park or school during daylight hours
• When a cougar or wolf is seen in a urban area.
— Ministry of the Environment