Possible cougar encounter near Lakawanna Park in Penticton | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Possible cougar encounter near Lakawanna Park in Penticton

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December 01, 2015 - 12:57 PM

PENTICTON - Reports of a possible cougar, or bobcat, in Penticton last night remains unresolved because conservation officers are unable to confirm the sighting.

Officers were called to the area of Lakeshore Drive at Lakawanna Park last night, Monday, Nov. 30, after reports of a cougar in the area, Penticton RCMP Media spokesperson Corporal Don Wrigglesworth says.

The officers failed to locate the animal, which appeared to have left the scene prior to their arrival.

Penticton conservation officer Jim Beck says the conservation office received information of either a bobcat or a cougar in the area but no officers were available to attend so police were contacted.

Beck says his office received a report from a man, visiting from Ireland, who heard an animal growling and hissing, in the area last night. He was unable to see the animal, but told officers he compared what he heard to online renderings of both cougar and bobcat sounds, and felt confident what he heard was a cougar.

Beck says cougar sightings are more common in the city this time of year as they follow deer into the valley when snow deepens at higher elevations. Bobcats will often descend to the valley floor in search of quail and other small wildlife during the winter, but are not generally considered a threat to public safety. Beck also notes a young cougar was captured at nearby Rotary Park earlier this year and relocated.

Beck says it is possible a cougar was sighted last night, but based on the evidence cannot confirm it. He says the actions of the animal indicate it is showing its fear of humans and  acting in a non-threatening way.

He urges residents to take cautionary steps when out with pets. If a cougar is sighted, Beck says people encountering cougars should try to make themselves look bigger, and to be aggressive rather than timid.

More information on how to act when encountering wildlife can be found on the conservation office’s web site.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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