Cougar sightings have risen this year compared to last in many areas. (Maple Ridge News/files)

Chilliwack trail user spots cougar near the Great Blue Heron Reserve

Cyclist disappointed at the lack of response from conservation

A regular Vedder River Rotary Trail user spotted a cougar this week and he thinks the public should be made aware.

Carl Eichler said he was cycling at approximately 6 a.m. near the Great Blue Heron Reserve when he saw the unmistakable cat.

“I definitely knew it was a cougar,” he said. “I’ve been hunting since 1962.”

And while he wasn’t concerned for his own safety knowing how to act around a cougar, he realized how the trail is used by those with little dogs and small children.

“If people don’t know how to behave around a cougar they could be in danger,” Eichler said.

At first he didn’t think too much of the sighting, but then he felt obliged to report it in case something happened to someone else. That’s when Eichler found out how frustrating it is to report an animal encounter.

“I was really perturbed at trying to get a hold of the conservation officers,” he said. “They are hidden away like ghosts.”

Eventually Eichler said he got through to someone as he was sitting on a bench on the trail, but that person had never heard of the heron reserve or even the Vedder River.

“He told me he’d pass on my sighting to the conservation officer and give my name and number but I never heard from them.”

According to the newly renamed Ministry of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, human-wildlife conflicts should be called in to the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline “where public safety may be at risk.”

The RAPP program is a toll-free tip line (1-877-952-7277) and online service that “also allows people to report known or suspected violations of fisheries, wildlife, or environmental protection laws anonymously and without risk of confronting the offender.”

As for what to do if potentially dangerous wildlife is observed and when to report, among the list of answers provided by the ministry is “when a cougar or wolf is seen in an urban area.”

WildSafeBC also operates an interactive online tool called the Wildlife Alert Reporting Program (WARP) where wildlife encounters are mapped for users.

Visiting the site on Wednesday, there is a report of a sighting listed in Chilliwack on July 23 at 6:20 a.m. in the Chilliwack River Valley near the residential area a short way up the road.

That same day there was also a cougar spotted just to the west of Chilliwack on Old Yale Road in Abbotsford at noon.

There was a cougar spotted on Squiala in early June, and one Chilliwack resident caught a cougar on video in the Majuba Hill area in September.

• READ MORE: Cougar spotted on Squiala within Chilliwack city limits

• READ MORE: Cougar caught on video in Chilliwack

Cougars are solitary creatures, rarely spotted by humans, but the WARP site recommends that pets should not be left out of doors, especially at night, as they are easy prey for a passing cougar.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UFV introduces first mindfulness graduate program in Canada

Most of the University of the Fraser Valley program is offered online

Missing man from Chilliwack was riding a silver mountain bike

RCMP investigators are asking the public to keep an eye out for the 70-year-old man

Enjoy the enchanting and powerful sounds of the cello at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Join cellist Beth Root Sandvoss as she performs Cellicious, a concert full of energy and intensity

Mounties hunt for missing Langley man

The public has been asked to help locate David Grainger, last seen on March 19

Lagoon improvements, but no safety audit recommendations, coming to Harrison

The lagoon will see electrical upgrades, a new flag pole and fencing, but no life jackets or signs

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Punching Parkinson’s in the Fraser Valley

Rock Steady Boxing program, designed to help battle symptoms of Parkinson’s, coming to Abbotsford in April

Baby left alone in vehicle in B.C. Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

Most Read