There have been recent cougar sightings in the Shirley Area. Wild Wise community program sends out this information on how to reduce conflicts with cougars.
Cougars are active throughout the year. They are elusive animals that prefer to avoid contact with humans.
Conflict encounters are uncommon.
Stay safe and keep cougars wild by following these guidelines:
- Do not attract or feed wildlife.
- Deer, raccoons, mice and rabbits are natural prey and may attract cougars.
- Pet food or birdseed , garbage should be stored inside a secure building to prevent attracting rodents or raccoons
- Keep pets in at night.
- Install motion sensor lights. Keep a radio playing
- Be alert and aware when hiking, don’t hike alone And noise i.e. use your voice,
- Keep dogs leashed.
- Look for signs of fresh cougar activity i.e. claw marks on trees. Cougars will cover unconsumed portions of their kill with twigs, leaf litter or soil. If you come across a cougar’s cache of food, leave the area immediately.
- Riding or running quickly and quietly puts you at risk for surprise encounters. Slow down going around blind corners and make noise.
- If you do encounter cougar kittens, do not approach or attempt to pick them up. Leave the area immediately
- Carry bear spray and know how to use it
- Talk to your children and teach them what to do if they encounter a cougar.
- Children playing outdoors should play in-groups, children shouldn’t be left unsupervised.
- Make sure children are home before dusk and stay indoors until after dawn-the time cougars are most active.
- Pick all children up off the ground immediately.
- Never approach a cougar
- Always give a cougar an avenue of escape.
- Stay calm. Talk to the cougar in a confident voice.
- Do not run or turn your back on the cougar. Face the cougar and remain upright.. Try to back away from the cougar slowly
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 the cougar you are a threat and not prey, use anything you can as a weapon. Focus your attack on the cougar’s face and eyes. Use rocks, sticks, bear spray or personal belongings as weapons. You are trying to convince the cougar that you are a threat, and are not prey.
Please Contact Conservation Services 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) if a cougar poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety.
For more information about preventing conflicts with cougars
Please visit the Province of BC website: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/wildlife/human-wildlife-conflict/staying-safe-around-wildlife/cougars
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