Cougar stalks Girl Guide selling cookies in Okanagan neighbourhood

AT RANDOM: Mother issues safety concerns following cougar sighting

With recent cougar attack news making headlines locally and abroad, you might imagine a young mother’s concerns to hear that one of these large cats is lurking in her neighbourhood.

I’m not talking about the middle-aged woman up the hill, full of botox and bleach, who preys on young married men.

Although there have also been sightings of this breed around my home, it is the four-legged one that I speak of now.

I had heard a rumour of a cougar in our Vernon neighbourhood, but living in a semi-rural area wildlife sightings are fairly common.

This is the time of year when these wild animals are feeding on animals closer to the valley bottom. In fact, a cougar has been spotted living right next to my daughter’s school, BX Elementary.

See: Cougar “living” next door to Vernon elementary school

Conservation Officer Tanner Beck said that the deer come down from the mountains for food in the winter and the cougars follow, which is why this cat is hanging around.

Since deer are one of the cougar’s primary food sources, there is a good possibility of finding cougars using an area where deer are abundant, especially a wintering area, according to WildSafe BC.

Our daughter was alerted to the cougar sightings at school and in our neighbourhood, and has since been too scared to walk to the bus stop.

But with Girl Guide cookie season in full swing, my little Guide was eager to go door-to-door Wednesday evening.

Thanks to the time change, she was able to head out during daylight down the road in our cozy little neighbourhood, heading to the end of the street where her friend lives.

Standing at their door knocking, she realized no one was home but then heard rustling in the cherry orchard behind her.

Feeling like something dangerous may be lurking, she retreated towards home. Another neighbour spotted her and quickly ushered her inside as dogs in the area were barking, alerting that something was in fact in the vicinity.

Thankfully, this neighbour was more educated on the situation and knew my little one shouldn’t be out alone as dusk was nearing (dusk=dinner time for cougars).

I received a phone call from this scared little girl, who was promptly picked up.

Seeing my daughter’s fear, the neighbour assured her that cougars prefer to feed on four-legged animals, like raccoons and dogs, not two legged ones.

Yet WildSafe BC states that cougars may view children as prey due to their small size, high-pitched voices and quick movements.

Our neighbour has been vigilant and made posters alerting that the cougar was first spotted on Monday, March 11, and listing some tips for safety.

She advised us that the large cat has in fact been seen sleeping on another neighbour’s deck for the past four nights and despite attempts to scare the cougar off by pots and pans and banging on the patio door, it will not go away until it wants to (typical cat).

And this is a large cougar.

The Conservation Office has been alerted to this cougar in the area and is monitoring the situation. But this isn’t the only cougar on their radar.

Cougars are in the valley bottom across the region, including several in Cherryville that have killed one dog and attacked two others.

Conservation officers recommend the following:

– supervise children when outside

– keep pets in at night

– walk pets in pairs/groups

– stay away from bushes, interface, trees and remain in the open

– make noises when in your yard

– eliminate wildlife attractants such as outdoor pet food, unsecure animal feed, scattered bird seeds or unsecured compost bins

These food sources attract rodents and raccoons, which in turn attract cougars. So if we can eliminate the food source it is likely that once the snow melts, the deer will move up the mountain and the cougars should follow.

But if cougars continue to access easy meals, they may not leave.

And sadly, these animals will not be destroyed until they have attacked, therefore the safety of our children remains at risk.

See: Cougars attack Cherryville dogs, killing one

To report a cougar sighting, or sighting of footprints, call the Conservation Hotline (24/7) at 1-877-952-7277. It is important to report and build a file of the cougar’s behaviour and sighting so the animal can be easily located.

To educate yourself and family, visit www.wildsafebc.com.

 

Just Posted

Penticton student looks to give back in wake of New Zealand terrorist attack

Hussain Sattar, a Grade 12 student at Princess Maggie of Muslim faith, discusses coming together

Okanagan College to develop wellness strategy for drug use

The Kelowna campus has 28 employees trained in the use of naloxone.

Things are looking up, way up for new Penticton restaurant

The 300 Block Casual Steakhouse continues to make strides towards an early May opening

TGIF: Penticton and South Okanagan events listings

Live theatre, concerts, events, art exhibits and more from around the South Okanagan

Homeless Osoyoos man allegedly doused in ice water while he slept

Community outraged at treatment of well-known homeless community member

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Pet Planet picks up Okanagan’s cannabis for pets

True Leaf Medicine International expands retail distribution to 3,500 stores worldwide

AquaVan comes to Okanagan Science Centre

200-litre mobile touch tank allows you to get up-close with marine invertebrates

Army of support behind Black Press saleswoman battling cancer

GoFundMe helps empower Sue Folliott’s fight

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

No joke: Kelowna’s first zero-waste grocery store to open April 1

Farm Bound Zero Waste has announced its opening date

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Most Read