Yet another cougar has been spotted prowling around in the residential Burke Mountain neighbourhood of Coquitlam, adding to a growing list of sightings in the Tri-Cities this year.
A security camera video was posted on a community Facebook group shows the large feline pacing along the sidewalk just after 1 a.m. on Monday.
The 30-second clip shows the cougar wandering up the driveway and past a parked car, before it approaches a well-lit part of house’s exterior and darts out of the camera’s range.
The number of cougar sightings in the Tri-Cities has risen dramatically this year. Sgt. Todd Hunter of the BC Conservation Officer Service told CTV News Vancouver in February they had already received 39 reports of cougar sightings, a nearly 650 per cent increase from February 2018.
Hunter said in an interview Tuesday the Conservation Officer Service had around 20 cougar sightings reported so far in April, but that number isn’t particularly abnormal.
“I can’t say its high-high, but we do have a number of them and we’ve been watching them closely because of the previous months,” he said.
While sightings are up, the Lower Mainland has not seen any attacks on people, like what was seen near Lake Cowichan in March when a cougar mauled a seven-year-old boy.
“Nothing aggressive or threatening so far, we’ve been watching the reports very closely, and nothing is centered towards people at this time,” Hunter said.
The Conservation Service officer previously suggested the easiest way for residents to encourage cougars to stay away is to keep any elements that might draw wild animals in to a bare minimum.
“At the lowest level, people need to make sure animals are not attracted to their properties,” Hunter told CTV News Vancouver.
That includes bringing in family pets, especially at night, as well as sealing compost and garbage cans that can attract smaller animals preyed on by cougars.
Hunter also noted that as weather becomes nicer and people spend more time outdoors, they are more and more likely to have direct encounters with cougars and other animals. Hunter said the keys are to expect a run-in, and be prepared for it.
If you do happen to come across a cougar in the wilderness, his advice is simple.
“Let it leave on its own and make yourself large,” he said. “Never, ever, ever turn your back and run on a cougar.”