Public warning issued after cougar spotted in Lake Country

Public warning issued after cougar spotted in Lake Country

Residents are to contact the Conservation Officer Service reporting line (1-877-952-7277) if they spot a cougar

Lake Country residents in the Juniper Cover neighborhood should keep their eyes peeled after a cougar was spotted over the weekend.

The district is asking residents to keep pets indoors, especially at night as small cats and dogs that are left to free-range can become easy prey targets.

According to WildSafeBC, cougars have large home ranges and have been recorded traveling over 50 kilometers in one day. If they are passing through it is important they do not find prey items that may encourage them to stay.

WildSafeBC also has a few tips to help residents with wild cougar interactions.

“If you encounter a cougar, keep calm. Make yourself look as large as possible and back away slowly, keeping the cougar in view, and allowing a clear exit for the cougar. Pick up children and small pets immediately. Never run or turn your back- sudden movements may provoke an attack.

If you notice that a cougar is watching you, maintain eye contact with the cougar and speak to it in a loud firm voice. Reinforce the fact that you are a human and not an easy target. Back out of the area and seek assistance or shelter.

If a cougar shows aggression or begins following you, respond aggressively in all cases as cougars see you as a meal: keep eye contact, yell and make loud noises. Pick up nearby sticks, rocks, or whatever you have at hand to quickly use as a weapon. If necessary crouch down as little as possible when picking things up off the ground. If the cougar attacks, fight back, focusing on its facial and eye area. Use rocks, sticks, bear spray, or personal belongings as weapons. You are trying to convince the cougar that you are a threat, and are not prey.

Residents are also encouraged to keep chickens or small livestock insides a properly installed electric fence and to store all feed in a secure location and ensure feeding areas are clean and free of attractants.

If you happen to spot a cougar in a residential area be sure to call the Conservation Officer Service reporting line (1-877-952-7277).