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How to keep your pets safe from prowling cougars and bobcats

This curious bobcat was spotted in Kamloops.
Image Credit: TWITTER / @RedSyde
February 06, 2020 - 12:10 PM

As cougars and bobcats occasionally make their way onto residential streets in Kamloops and the Okanagan, a Kamloops Conservation Officer has some advice for keeping pets and property protected.

Conservation Officer Graydon Bruce says that although the wildcats have prey opportunities in their natural habitat, some will find an easy dinner in backyard habitats.

“They get drawn in due to people having attractants such as hens in their yard or pets out, things like that. They might have decided that a certain thing is prey for them, such as chickens, and they’ll start to target chickens.”

Although cougars have been spotted prowling the streets of Vernon and warranted a warning in Lake Country, Bruce says there has been very few cougar sightings in the Kamloops area.

Bobcats, however, have been spotted peering in a Kamloops home and one in Salmon Arm scored an easy dinner in a duck coop. Bruce says one bobcat had to be relocated after a conflict with humans, as it continued to kill chickens in a Kamloops resident’s backyard. Despite these incidents, Bruce says there have been a slightly lower than normal amount of bobcat sightings for this time of year in the area.

“As far as bobcats go, make sure that your chickens are locked up in secure houses,” Bruce says. “Pets, letting them out at night to free roam is always a risk, so when you’re walking your dogs, have them on a leash. If you have lights in your backyard and you’re going to let them out at night, make sure your lights are on and you do a sweep, so take a look in the backyard prior to letting your pet out.”

On the WildSafeBC website, they recommend installing an electric fence to protect chickens and small livestock from becoming a meal.

Bruce has some advice for residents who may spot a cougar or bobcat.

Cougars and bobcats may find easy prey in backyard pets.
Cougars and bobcats may find easy prey in backyard pets.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Conservation Officer Service

“Call our R.A.P.P. line if you’re concerned and it’s not just passing through. Treat it with caution and respect, and don't let your pets out,” Bruce says.

To report an incident, call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (R.A.P.P.) line at 1-877-952-7277. For more information on cougars and bobcats, check out the WildSafeBC website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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