September 24, 2013 - 2:29 PM
KELOWNA - Three reports of a cougar at Scenic Canyon Regional Park have prompted a public warning from the Regional District.
The cougar was spotted by park visitors as recently as yesterday, when two reports to Regional Parks staff were made. The animal was seen in the KLO Creek corridor between McCulloch Road, Field Road and Mission Creek. Another resident near the Field Road parking lot saw the cougar on their acreage Sunday.
"While our staff has not seen evidence of the cougar, we're taking these reports very seriously and are continuing to monitor the situation," communications officer Bruce Smith stated in a press release. "We've advised the Conservation Officer Service about this activity and have posted warning signs to let people know of these cougar sightings in this area of Scenic Canyon Park, below Gallagher's Canyon neighbourhood."
Using the Ministry of the Environment's Safety Guide to Cougars as a guide, Smith recommends people travel in groups of two or more, and to make enough noise to prevent surprising a cougar. He says to carry a sturdy stick that can be used as a weapon if necessary and to keep children and pets close at hand and under control. Dogs should be leashed at all times and must stay on designated trails. Watch for cougar tracks and signs. Keep in mind cougars are unpredictable.
In the event of a cougar encounter, stay calm, talk to it in a confident voice, pick all small children off the ground and never turn your back on a cougar. Rather, back away slowly, remaining upright and try to make yourself appear larger, keeping in mind to give the cougar an avenue of escape.
If you observe a cougar or bear within Scenic Canyon Regional Park or other Regional Park please contact the Parks Services office at 250-469-6232 and the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013