Cougars are out there and people should be aware.

Cougars are in our midst

Be aware of forest felines

  • Oct. 5, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Local David Foster said he isn’t afraid of many things these days, and that includes cougars.

The owner of Eagle Signs was out in his backyard on Firwood Place off of Grant Road earlier this month looking for his cat when he saw a pair of eyes blinking at him in the darkness.

“It was the size of a dog, it was in my yard beside some bushes right at the back. I walked up to it out of curiosity, I didn’t know what the hell it was.”

Foster said while most people would probably be inclined to go back into the house, he’s “so used to bloody wildlife” that he followed the large feline into his neighbour’s yard and threw a rock at it.

“It bounced off its butt and that was the last I saw of it,” he said. This was his second encounter with the predator, his first was years ago when a cougar was destroyed after killing one of his cats.

A few days following the recent incident, Foster spoke to a few other people who also spotted the cougar, that most believe is the other sibling belonging to the mother that was captured along with her cub on Maple Avenue and relocated in July.

“There’s a total lack of communication of letting the neighbours know (of cougar sightings in the area),” said Foster, who worries especially for the young families and their children. He said in other areas, like Colwood, measures are taken such as people putting up cougar alert signs.

“Authorities need to inform the public, people need to be aware.”

There hasn’t been an unusual number of cougar-human conflicts this year, according to a Ministry of Environment press release issued last week. Between April 1 and Sept. 7 — the busiest time of year for cougar sightings — MOE received 1,362 complaints compared to 1,854 last year, and 2,242 in 2009/2010.

To date, 43 cougars have been killed in 2011 — 27 by conservation officers and 16 by the RCMP or the public.

Report sightings of cougars and other dangerous wildlife to the 24-hour hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

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