The Conservation Officer Service has received three reports of a cougar in the Anmore and Port Moody areas over the past week, and given the proximity of the calls it very well may be the same cat travelling and hunting throughout the area. It has been observed watching a man who was out walking his dog, up on a porch of a home, and chasing deer up a street late at night. There has been no reports of any aggression or stalking behaviour towards humans or pets, however I just wanted to send out a pro-active email so that the municipalities can disseminate it as you see fit. The COS is monitoring the situation and encourages anyone who observes a cougar in a urban setting to call the RAPP line ASAP so that COS can determine the appropriate course of action. The COS typically sees an increase in cougar sightings in urban areas as winter progresses, due to the increasing snowpack forcing deer and other prey animals into lower (and often more urban) elevations. I’ve listed a few pro-active steps that the public can take to avoid any negative encounters with cougars:
- Keep dogs on a leash and under control at all times
- Keep house cats indoors at all times
- Clear thick brush and brambles away from homes, out-buildings and property lines. Cougars are ambush hunters who require cover to stalk their prey
- Remove bird feeders or shrubs that may attract the preferred prey of cougars (deer, raccoons, etc.) to your yard
- Be alert and make noise when walking in forested settings (and carry bear spray, it is also effective against cougars and coyotes!)
- If you encounter a cougar, never run. Instead, turn and face the animal, use jackets/back packs to look as big as possible, and back away slowly
- If the cougar appears to be stalking or following you, yell and throw objects such as rocks/sticks at the animal
- Attacks are rare, but if the cougar does show aggression, fight back with any weapon/object available, delivering blows to eyes/nose
- Do not defend or try and rescue pets!
- Report any encounters or sightings in an urban area to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277Just an FYI – cougars are curious animals with very good eye sight, so staring behaviour isn’t necessarily a sign of aggression. Further to this, they may be attracted to their own reflections in widows/doors of homes (think house cat behaviour) and will definitely prey upon any pets left outdoors. These behaviours, taken alone do not necessarily indicate a dangerous cougar, but if the cougar is observed in the same area, multiple times over a period of a couple days, then this is definitely something the COS would want to know about and investigate. Cougars will commonly hunt and kill a deer, drag the carcass to a bush line or area they feel secure, partially burry it, and return to feed for up to three days. During this time, they do not stray very far from the animal they have killed. Any carcasses discovered in this manner should not be disturbed and should be reported to the RAPP line ASAP, as it is likely that the cougar is still in the immediate area.
Click HERE to view important wildlife information and safety tips.