The first encounter occurred on Saturday, May 15 when a cougar began to chase a group of three mountain bikers on the Flank Trail. One of the riders crashed while the cougar was in pursuit. The rider then got up and confronted the animal until it backed down.
The following day the cougar was spotted by another mountain biker on the Old Millar Creek Road that connects Function Junction and Alta Lake Road. The biker initially turned around to avoid the cougar, but decided to go on when he met up with another rider and his dog on the trail. The dog treed the cougar in an alder and the man got a picture of it as it sat in lower branches.
There were other sightings in the area in the Soo Valley area and the Green River Crossing about a week prior to those encounters.
Michael Allen, Whistlers resident black bear researcher, says theres a good possibility that the cat has moved on, although hes not an expert on the animals.
"If it were desperate, who knows, but I think if it did start getting really brave then people would see it and report it," said Allen. "People will see a bear without reporting anything about it, but when people see a cat I think theyd definitely report it.
"I havent seen or heard anything about it. I was hoping the cat would hit one of my hair traps because they smell like fish and Ive got traps all over where it was spotted, but nope."
Allen is collecting the hair from local black bears for DNA sampling, in order to get a better idea of numbers, the origin of bears and the family relationships between residents in the population.
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