Face-to-face with a cougar. Supplied by the BC Conservation Officer Service Facebook page.
The horrific cougar attack in the Lake Cowichan area that sent a seven-year-old boy to hospital has led to more reports of cougars.
BC Conservation Officer Service Sergeant Scott Norris says it’s not that there are more of these large cats in our area, but this case has led to people becoming more vigilant about reporting sightings.
“Definitely, we’ve had our fair share of calls in the last month, particularly after the attack had happened in Lake Cowichan, more people are reporting sightings,” said Norris. “Generally speaking, there’s always cougars on our landscape, we always get sightings, a lot of those sightings are on the urban fringe or on trails that lead off into the wilderness that are sightings, but there is no negative interaction.”
Norris said it’s not that there are more of these large cats in our area, but this case has led to people becoming more vigilant about reporting sightings.
“A lot more people just know because of the media interest in the attack story…people are aware that they should be reporting the sightings too us, so we’re aware,” said Norris. “That also drives the call volume up a little bit, but overall, I don’t believe we have a lot more cougars on the landscape, we just have people being a lot more vigilant, reporting to us.”
Wildsafe BC has some tips if you encounter a cougar and they include making yourself appear as large as possible, back away slowly, keeping the wildcat in view, and allow a clear exit for the cougar.
You are also advised to pick up small children and pets immediately.
To report a cougar sighting call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.
For more cougar tips, click here.