July 14, 2016 - 7:00 PM
SUMMERLAND - Summerland resident Amber Andreucci had just returned from a bike ride just after sunset yesterday, July 13, and settled down in her backyard on Peach Orchard Road for a few minutes when she sensed an uninvited guest.
“I like to be outside, I was just catching up on some emails when I heard a noise. It wasn’t a normal noise, that you might expect to hear, like the sound of a leaf crunching or gravel being stepped on, but just a slight noise that made me look to my left, where a cougar was standing about five feet away,” she says.
At first she thought it was a cat, then a dog. Then Andreucci saw the silhouette of the cat in her backyard solar lights.
“I had music on, but it just slowly crept past me and went around the house,” she says, adding it was the stealthy nature of the cat’s movement that was most unnerving.
“You don’t expect to see something like that in your backyard,” she says, wondering what the cat might have done had she made a noise.
“You’re shocked and surprised and you’re fearful about what could happen,” she says, adding she’s still processing the incident.
“I’m curious. He knew I was there,” she says, wondering whether something could have triggered an attack from the cat.
“It’s amazing and scary at the same time,” she says, describing the cat’s size as something about the same height as a golden retriever.
Penticton Conservation Officer Mike Stern says his office received two reports of a cougar, the first one Wednesday morning in the 15,200 block of Lakeshore Drive North in Summerland, and the second by Andreucci last night. He says it appears the cougar is making its way out of the community based on the location of yesterday’s sightings.
There have been no sightings reported today.
The animal, believed to be in the 70- to 100-pound range, has not demonstrated aggressive behaviour and is not considered a threat. However, conservation authorities will continue monitoring the incident.
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