December 16, 2015 - 1:28 PM
PENTICTON - A pet owner in the upper Penticton Avenue area may be missing their cat following a pair of cougar sightings in the area earlier this week.
Two sightings were reported to Penticton conservation officers on Monday, Dec.14.
Conservation officer Dave Cox says the sightings were reported to the conservation office around 8 p.m. when a resident in the 1500 block of Penticton Avenue heard her dogs barking at a cougar in her yard.
The yard backs onto a green space of mixed Crown and city timber in an area where wildlife like migrating deer, bears and cougars are sometimes encountered.
The resident attempted to call her four small dogs in and they ignored for a bit but she was finally able to coax them into the house.
The resident continued watching the cougar, approximately 20 feet away, until it stood up and wandered towards the back door. It settled down again near a garden shed for roughly ten mintues before leaving the yard. When it returned 20 minutes later the resident saw it had a smaller cat in its mouth.
Cox says the cougar’s behaviour is not unusual, as adult cougar tom cats view domestic animals as an adult prey source. They will hunt smaller cougars, bobcat and lynx, Cox says, and residents need to be diligent when caring for their pets.
“Bring pets inside, keep them on leash when outdoors and make timely reportings of animal sightings,” Cox says, adding residents can find more tips at the Wildsafe B.C. website.
The fact the cougar hunted a domestic cat does not warrant intervention on the conservation office’s part. Cox says the cougar did not exhibit abnormal or aggressive behaviours, but the conservation office will continue to monitor the sightings and reports.
“It’s the first report we’ve had of the cougar feeding on what is a grey area between natural and unnatural food sources,” Cox says.
While not uncommon for cougars to prey on cats, they are domestic, which heightens awareness of the situation for all, Cox says.
Cox says a second individual passing by also saw a cougar at roughly the same location and time.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015