Recent Cougar sightings in the Elk Valley prompt residents to learn more about wildlife and how to prevent human/wildlife conflict

cougar hide with maryWildSafeBC strives to reduce human/wildlife conflict through Education, Innovation and Cooperation

Cougar Facts

Cougars are “spot and stalk” hunters and have extremely good vision.
Cougars have large home ranges and males have been recorded as having travelled over 50 kilometers in one day.
Young cougars stay with their mother for up to two years at which time she forces them off to fend for themselves
Many urban incidents occur with young cougars that have not yet learned how to hunt effectively or older animals that can no longer hunt in the wilds.
Cougars are secretive animals and are seldom seen by hikers.
Cougars also go by the name mountain lion, puma, and panther.
Cougars in Urban Areas
Cougars are wide ranging animals and may show up in urban settings from time to time. If they are passing through it is important they do not find food that may encourage them to stay.
Feed pets indoors or if fed outdoors, bring in any uneaten food as pet food may attract cougars.
Keep your pets indoors, especially at night. Cats and small dogs that are left to free-range, hunt small birds and rodents and, in turn, become prey themselves.
Bird feeders can attract cougars. If the ground below the feeder is not kept clear, seeds can accumulate, attracting rodents and, in turn, attracting cougars and other predators that feed on the rodents.
Never feed deer or other possible prey species for cougars. While deer may be pleasant to watch, they can attract large predators such as cougars into residential neighborhoods. As well, urban deer present their own set of problems to you and your neighbors.
Deer are one of the cougar’s primary food sources. If deer are abundant in an area, especially a wintering area, then there is a good possibility to find cougars using the same area

Human cougar conflicts

Cougars account for approximately 2,500 calls to the Conservation Officer Service reporting line every year.
Many reported cougar sightings turn out to be animals other than cougars.
Cougars in conflict are usually young cougars that have not yet learned how to hunt efficiently or, are older cougars that can no longer hunt in the wilds.
Cougars are most active during the period from dusk until dawn and this period requires extra vigilance by hikers while in cougar country.
A properly installed and maintained electric fence can help prevent your chickens or small livestock from becoming a meal for a cougar.

Cougar Safety Tips

Attacks by cougar are rare but can be fatal, especially if young children are involved. In all cases you must fight back as cougar attacks are always predatory and the cougar sees you as a meal. Use rocks, sticks or whatever you have at hand to protect yourself. If you see a cougar that 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.

Call the Conservation Officer Service reporting line (1-877-952-7277) to report the incident
Due to popular demand the Bear Aware Program has evolved into WildSafeBC and will include safety with other wildlife: cougars, coyotes, urban deer and bears. Visit http://www.wildsafebc.com to find out more or contact elkvalley@wildsafebc.com