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Cougar spotted wandering around Kelowna neighbourhoods

Image Credit: FACEBOOK/B.C. Wildlife Park
September 06, 2021 - 11:00 AM

In the last few nights, a cougar has been seen wandering around the City of Kelowna.

Conservation Officer Ken Owens said it was seen on Lakeshore Road, Dickson Ave, Abbott Street and Richter Street.  “Kelowna cougar sighting numbers are similar to past years and represent the area we live in,” he said in a press release.

Cougars are normally nocturnal and typically prey on available food sources within the areas they live.  Their diet can primarily include deer that also live within the city.

“The cougar sighted this past week was exhibiting normal, natural behaviour and has been assessed to have a low public safety risk,” he said.

“A cougar’s ability to travel long distances occasionally brings these cats into seemingly inappropriate areas, even places densely settled by humans. Such appearances are almost always brief, with the animal moving along quickly in its search of a suitable permanent home.”

Cougar attacks on people are extremely rare, he said. The Ministry of Environment estimates the cougar population within B.C. is approximately 7,000 animals. 

Owens said if you encounter a cougar, keep at least a 100-metre distance away from it, stay calm, maintain eye contact, never turn your back and speak to it in a confident voice while backing away.

Keep children close, avoid walking along and utilize natural barriers and keep trees or other large obstacles between you and the cougar. Carry bear spray, a walking stick and noise makers to use for protection.  Make noise to avoid surprise encounters, Owens said.


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