A pair of close encounters with a cougar has the Conservation Officer Service (COS) urging the public to avoid a mountain biking area on Blackcomb Mountain.
The warning stems from two reported sightings of the same cougar near the area of the Yummy Numby and Micro Climate trails on Monday evening, May 2. The first close call involved two hikers who ran into the wildcat with their dog on-leash before scaring it away by “yelling and screaming and throwing things at it,” Conservation Officer Tim Schumacher said.
About 20 minutes later, two bikers came across the cougar before it ran up a tree. The bikers believe their dog, which was on-leash walking ahead of them, may have scared the cat off.
“It’s possible that the cougar has a kill in the area that it’s protecting and we’re just asking people to avoid that area for now,” added Schumacher. “The other possibility is it could have been after the dog. They did have their dog on a leash and it very well could have saved the dog’s life.”
The best strategy for warding off a cougar, Schumacher said, is to make yourself as tall as possible, be loud and throw things in the cat’s direction. He said to avoid crouching or turning your back, and to keep small pets and children close by.
The COS typically receives about one or two reported cougar sightings a month in the Whistler area, Schumacher said.
The COS is asking the public to report any wildlife sightings as they occur to its RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.
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