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Vernon cougar sightings no cause for alarm

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January 29, 2019 - 1:30 PM

VERNON - Several cougar sightings in the Vernon area recently are no cause for alarm, but people do need to be vigilant at this time of year, according to provincial conservation officer.

Conservation officer Matt Richardson told three cougar sightings had been reported in the last few days, including one Friday, Jan. 25 where a dog was attacked by a cougar near Hartnell Road in the BX area of Vernon. He said the dog survived but was wounded. 

Richardson said people need to be vigilant with pets and livestock, but stressed the sightings were normal at this time of year. 

"At this time of year we always get a spike in cougar calls. It's coming to the end of the winter and the cats are hungry," he said. "They're following the deer... because the deer are coming into areas where there is less snow. Unfortunately, they get closer to town sites and they start looking for easy prey."

Richardson said the cougars are most active between dawn and dusk, and advised members of the public to keep animals and livestock indoors at these times. He stressed as much as people should be vigilant it's incredibly rare for a cougar to attack.

"Cougars are all around us... it's totally normal. It's just that we hardly ever see them."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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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