Conservation officers are advising Nanaimo residents to be vigilant after numerous cougar sightings in the Buttertubs Marsh area.
Sgt. Stuart Bates, of B.C. Conservation Officer Services, said reports of a cougar at Buttertubs have been coming in since Saturday. He said if someone should happen to come upon a cougar, the most important thing is to maintain eye contact.
“As far as travelling at Buttertubs Marsh, don’t go alone, don’t go late in the evening or early in the morning,” said Bates. “Don’t take your dog there; you’re not supposed to anyway … that’s an attractant. If you do run into a cougar, stay calm and whatever you do, don’t scream and don’t run. Running from a cougar is like rolling a ball in front of a cat. They’ll chase first and ask questions later.”
If you are in a group, Bates suggests getting close together in order to appear like “a giant two-headed monster” and back away to safety.
Heads up, #Nanaimo. A cougar has been spotted again this morning in Buttertubs Marsh. Please use caution if in the area. Parks crews will be placing signage at the entrances to the park. #YCD pic.twitter.com/uQ2axbEl7i
— City of Nanaimo (@cityofnanaimo) July 8, 2021
Bates also said isn’t unusual to see cougars in the area, as the marsh is an extension of the Millstone River and a wildlife corridor that goes right through Nanaimo.
“Be vigilant,” said Bates. “Be aware of the fact they’re there. Don’t have your earbuds on. Keep looking around, go with a group, or two at least.”
For more information, Bates suggests going to the Wild Safe B.C. website.