September 23, 2016 - 9:30 AM
KAMLOOPS - The Battle Bluff trail will remain closed until further notice after a number of cougar sightings in the Lac Du Bois Grasslands near Kamloops, B.C. Parks says.
Wildsafe B.C. provincial coordinator Frank Ritcey says it's important to follow the rules the province sets out to ensure the public's safety.
"The big thing with cougars is, if they’re coming at you it’s not a defensive move by the cougar, it’s going to be a predatory move," Ritcey says.
Ritcey says if you do encounter a cougar in Kamloops, it's important to stand your ground by making yourself look big, staring the cat in the eye and throwing sticks or rocks at it.
"Show your dominance, show that you're not an easy target and fight back," he says.
Ritcey says one man who reached out to him has had at least three cougar encounters in the same area of the grasslands.
Bear spray works just as good on cougars as it does on bears and Ritcey advises all hikers to carry it with them while still obeying signs indicating closed trails.
"If the parks have closed the trails they’ve closed it for a reason. They felt the threat level was high enough."
Cougar attacks aren't common in B.C., Ritcey says, and many of the animals people see are young cougars trying to hunt on their own for the first time.
He says closing off areas where the cats are spotted gives them the opportunity to hunt and gives them some space so they move on.
Ritcey provided a video of a cougar who was caught on camera creeping around the Lac Du Bois area a few years ago.
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