Residents in south Port Alberni are being warned there is a cougar wandering residential neighbourhoods.
Duncan Booth, community coordinator for WildSafe BC posted a warning on WildSafe’s Alberni Valley Facebook page about multiple sightings reported in the Scott Street and Hilton Avenue area.
“Reports have slowed down, though there have been recent sightings in other South Port neighbourhoods,” he posted. “Please remain cautious, keep small pets indoors as much as possible.”
A juvenile cougar was seen on Hilton Avenue and known to have been targeting small pets, according to one resident who sent Booth a security cam video of their cat being chased up to a fence.
Another woman, Keneesha Bordian, photographed a cougar sitting in the shade under a cedar hedge in her yard. She had been walking into her backyard when she spotted the big cat.
“They were both surprised by each other and ran,” her father Art related. “Then she went inside and took pictures of it in the front yard from the window. It growled as she took the picture.”
Booth said other anecdotal reports of cougar sightings in South Port have come in from Mallory Drive and also from Dunbar Street near Dry Creek Park—a popular greenbelt with bears, cougars, raccoons, deer and other animals.
This is the second area to have multiple sightings of cougars. “A couple of weeks ago we were having a lot of activity around Golden Street and Nelson Street.” The two areas are on opposite sides of town, but near forested areas.
“We have prime habitat on the Island (for cougars). Unless you’re in downtown Victoria, you’re probably never far from a cougar.”
You just don’t see them, he added.
WildSafe BC is a program delivered by the BC Conservation Foundation in communities across B.C. and helps to prevent conflict with wildlife through collaboration, education and community solutions.
More information on cougar safety tips can be found online at www.wildsafebc.com/species/cougar.
“The biggest safety tips are don’t let children play unsupervised, try not to be out on trails alone and keep small pets indoors” in areas where cougars have been sighted, Booth said.
Anyone spotting large predators such as cougars in town are asked to call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.