Cougar sightings in Castlegar, Trail, Montrose, Blueberry
Multiple cougar sightings in several communities: three in Castlegar this month, at least one in Trail, and more in Montrose and Blueberry – have Conservation reminding residents that this is the season for it, and to secure any and all attractants that might lure a cougar to your home.
“There’s still snow high up in the mountains – the lushest vegetation is in the lower valley bottoms, which is going to draw prey, which will bring the cougars,” said Conservation Officer Ben Beetlestone. “Deer are fawning down here, elk are calving.”
He said there haven’t been any negative interactions, just sightings, but added officials do appreciate when people report the sightings, as it gives them a frame of reference and a timeline should a cougar create cause for concern. Knowing where they’ve been helps with tracking and trapping as well, should the need arise, he said. “It just gives us another piece of the puzzle.”
Otherwise, he said, residents just need to apply common sense – keep pets indoors, use electrified fences for chickens and other backyard livestock, etc.
One thing people may not intuitively know, though, is that bird feeders can be problematic this time of year – no, cougars don’t eat out of them, but they do attract prey animals like squirrels, chipmunks and raccoons.
“Cougars will predate on anything,” Beetlestone said.
He also advised people with questions or concerns to check out www.wildsafebc.com
To report a wildlife sighting or conflict, call the RAPP line at 1 (877) 952-7277.