The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) issued a wildlife alert on Wednesday after receiving a report of a cougar sighting in Lost Lake Park.
Two cougars were spotted "on a trailhead" near the lake on Tuesday evening, Aug. 9, the RMOW explained in a social media post.
In the wake of the encounter, the municipality is reminding locals and visitors to keep all pets on a leash and small children close by when out on Whistler's trails, especially those within the Lost Lake trail network.
If you come across one or multiple cougars (also referred to as mountain lions or pumas), stay calm and keep the animal in view in front of you, making sure to give the cougar a clear avenue of escape. Children should be picked up immediately—"children frighten easily, the noise and movements they make could provoke an attack," the RMOW advises on its website—while adults should try to make themselves look as large as possible.
Back away slowly, and never turn your back on the cougar.
If a cougar shows interest or starts following you, maintain eye contact and respond aggressively. In the rare event that a cougar attacks, fight back and do your best to convince the cougar you are a threat and not prey.
British Columbia is home to the world’s largest number of cougars, with a total population in the low- to mid-thousands.
Cougar sightings can be reported to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.