Despite rise in cougar sightings, threat remains low

While sightings are up, no pets or livestock reported missing from the South Island

Conservation officer not surprised by recent cougar sightings in Prospect Lake area.

Saanich residents needn’t be overly concerned regarding the recent sightings of cougars in the Prospect Lake area.

Wildlife conservation officer Peter Pauwels, who is based out of Langford, said he is aware that cougars pass through the Prospect Lake area. However, he does find it troubling that there have been recent sightings reported at Wain Road and Tatlow Road in North Saanich.

A cougar was also hit and killed on the Malahat last week, which happens a few times a year.

“Near Prospect Lake, that doesn’t surprise me, they are known to pass through there,” Pauwels said. “North Saanich though, that one we would like to keep track of the sightings and try to keep track of the cougar there.”

The Island’s cougar population is estimated at 800 but Pauwels said there is no solid estimate for the number of animals on the South Island.

Sightings are up this year which falls in line with the cyclical fluctuation in the population of cougars. Many of the sightings are of young adult cougars nearing human habitats in search of a territory for themselves. Of course, cougar sightings are always up in the summer, when the nocturnal hunters are witnessed early in the morning and before nightfall, he said.

Even with the additional sightings there have been no pets or livestock reported missing from the South Island, which is good news for the cougar stock.

Pauwels also said that reporting a cougar sighting in a rural area isn’t necessary.

“Reporting a sighting depends on the area,” Pauwels said. “If it’s rural and it’s not causing a problem, we don’t necessarily need to know about it.”

On the other hand, conservation officers rely on reports of urban sightings. One of those urban sightings was the cougar which found its way to James Bay in the fall of 2015. That animal was later sighted on other parts of the South Island. It was caught and tagged on its ear, and was able to be released because it never attacked anyone or any pets during its week-long journey through Oak Bay and Victoria.

Other than the James Bay cougar, and one that was relocated from Florence Lake, there are no cougars being tracked on the South Island, yet.

“There aren’t any with radio collars or GPS right now,” Pauwels said.

Pauwels reminds people to be assertive when they are out hiking and to remember that if you see a cougar, it isn’t hunting you.

“They stalk, so you wouldn’t run into one if it was hunting you,” he said. “Keep watching them and back up to where you came, slowly, or back up to a safe place. Never turn your back, and pick up kids or pets if they’re near you.”

If you see a cougar or witness a cougar conflict, call 1-800-663-9453.

 

Just Posted

B.C. Transit saves $300,000, scores 28 used fareboxes idle in California

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Trauma sufferers support group takes shape on West Shore

Aaron’s Society open to more peer support groups with certified trauma practitioners

Hundreds of students gather at Government House to decorate Christmas Trees

The annual tradition let Grade 2 and 3 students help celebrate for the holidays

Tenants above Wellburns uncertain after ‘nightmare’ sewage flood ousts them indefinitely

Tenants evacuated after sewage flooded basement of century-old building

Mental health call temporarily shuts down Trans Canada Highway in View Royal

West Shore RCMP cite 14 percent increase in calls concerning mental health in 2019

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Camosun College for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Carriageworks Restorations come together to care for car

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Oscar Hickes: Longest running hockey tournament on Vancouver Island cancelled

Patrick Murray, one of the organizers for the tournament, broke the sad news on social media.

Most Read