Reported sightings of cougars are on the rise, especially on social media. (Spencer Lindskoog - Facebook image)

Cougar sightings on the rise in Okanagan

More reports of seeing large wild cats over last year

More cougars are roaming the region this year.

Sightings of the large wild cats have increased this year over last, according to Conservation Officers.

“This year seems to be slightly higher than others for sightings,” said CO Tanner Beck. “I wouldn’t say it’s a record year.”

Wayne Andre recently spotted a large cat roaming near his home neighbouring BX Elementary school.

“It passes through my backyard and I’ve seen the fresh tracks and only seen it on my game cam once at night,” said Andre.

See: Cougar scares Girl Guide selling cookies in Vernon neighbourhood

Another possible cougar sighting took place on Upland Drive in Coldstream Sunday, March 17.

Spencer Lindskoog captured a photo of what is believed to be a cougar across the road in front of his house.

“Wish I got a picture five seconds earlier,” he posted on Facebook. “I couldn’t believe my eyes.

While many are surprised to see these large cats roaming the neighbourhoods, it is not uncommon.

“I used to live on Scenic Drive as a kid and even 20 years ago we would have cougar sightings in that area every year,” said Brittany Paulson.

Beck agrees.

“In all reality, there’s been cougars there lots,” he said of not just this, but the many areas where cougars are spotted.

“This happens every single year, this time of year,” said Beck.

Unfortunately, a number of unofficial reports of cougar sightings are being made via social media.

As an example, it was recently reported that a large cat was sleeping on the back deck of a BX resident. Yet, Beck said the closest report to that is that cougar tracks have been spotted on a deck.

“We don’t get the information,” said Beck. “People are hearing things.”

Those who have personally spotted a cougar are urged to report their sightings, versus second or third parties making the call.

Beck would also like to clarify the Conservation Office’s protocol on destroying cougars.

See: Cougars attack Cherryille dogs, killing one

“We don’t wait until they attack,” he said. “We base it on the behaviour of the cat. But we can’t go killing cougars just because they are here.”

Behaviour that would warrant action includes any interest in people and if a cougar is spotting during the day time walking through a neighbourhood. The predatory killing of livestock and pets is also what COs look for.

Families are reminded to have cougar safety talks with their children and keep an eye on them in their yards. Kids who walk to the bus stop in semi-rural areas should do so in groups versus alone.

“They’re always around so people should be doing (these things) all the time.”

The good news is, with spring upon us, it is likely that the deer will be able to retreat to the hills for food. And the cougars will follow.

“When their food disperses, then the cougars also disperse.”


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BREAKING: Kelowna RCMP to further investigate 12 sexual assault cases, create sexual assault unit

Recommendations come 5 months after it was revealed 40% of sexual assaults were deemed ‘unfounded’

Central Okanagan school board expands whistleblower policy

School employees will now be able to report criminal activity anonymously to an independent third party

Central Okanagan school board cancels trip to Europe over coronavirus fears

Students were supposed to visit Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Italy

Brea Lake: Leading the Okanagan into the future

She is the chief executive officer for Accelerate Okanagan

Rockets stay hot with 5-4 win over Cougars

The Rockets collected seven of a possible eight points on their road trip

RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Ministry grants SD67 extension to balance books, submit amended budget

The board of trustees voted Monday to acquire outside help to deal with budget concerns

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

‘The project is proceeding’: Horgan resolute in support of northern B.C. pipeline

B.C. premier speaks as talks scheduled with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Businesses nominated for excellence awards

Upcoming awards ceremony has 67 nominees in 12 categories

Charges discontinued in 2017 shooting death of Penticton man

The manslaughter charge against Sylvain Demers has been stayed by Crown

Explicit Greta sticker linked to Alberta company draws outrage

The sticker includes the logo of Red Deer-based X-Site Energy Services

Share Now, formerly Car2Go, leaves Canada with valuable data in changing market: expert

Vancouver was its largest market in North America, with more than 300,000 customers

Most Read