Cougar spotted in Cultus Lake area of Chilliwack

It's not unusual for a couple of cougars to travel through the area every year, typically in the winter, sometimes during summer months.

A cougar sighting (not the animal pictured) reported Thursday to conservation officers was the third report this spring of a cougar in the Cultus Lake area

A cougar sighting (not the animal pictured) reported Thursday to conservation officers was the third report this spring of a cougar in the Cultus Lake area

Reports of a young cougar roaming the Cultus Lake area came in on Thursday.

Conservation Officers went out looking for the cougar, but could not confirm the report of one in the Cultus Lake Golf Course.

“It’s a juvenile cougar that’s been hanging around,” said Sgt. Steve Jacobi, Conservation Officer in charge of the Fraser Valley zone.

It’s the third cougar sighting they’ve had at Cultus this spring, and this time the cougar was reportedly thin and behaving somewhat unusually.

“It was acting strange, walking along the fence line bumping his head into it,” the conservation officer said. “Normally a cougar would be able to jump that fence.”

They didn’t deploy the cougar hounds this week, or track the animal with the goal of trapping it.

“We are concerned but are not going to hunt it yet. We won’t take action unless it becomes a public safety concern or is stalking people,” said Sgt. Jacobi.

It’s not unusual for a couple of cougars to travel through the area every year, typically in the winter, sometimes during summer months.

Here are some cougar encounter tips from the COS:

• Stay calm and keep the cougar in view.

• Pick up children and back away slowly, ensuring that the animal has a clear avenue of escape.

• Make yourself look as large as possible, and keep the cougar in front of you.

• Never run or turn your back. Sudden movement may provoke an attack.

• If a cougar shows interest or follows you, respond aggressively. Maintain eye contact with the cougar, show your teeth and make loud noise. Arm yourself with rocks or sticks as weapons.

• If a cougar attacks, fight back. Convince it you are a threat and not prey. Use anything you can as a weapon. Focus your attack on the cougar’s face and eyes.

Conservation Officers had to destroy a young cougar a couple of summers ago that was acting aggressively toward hikers.

“They get that way when they lose their fear of people,” he said.

But this cougar hasn’t done anything, so they’re just watching and waiting.

“We don’t want to have to take action, but sometimes it’s our only option.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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