Conservation officers report young cougar prowling near Tofino
Conservation officer Stuart Bates says this cougar is a dispersing young adult which only recently left its mother.
VICTORIA -- Conservation officers are asking people in Tofino to watch out for a young cougar in the area.
The cougar has been spotted serval times since May 20 around the western Vancouver Island community. One such sighting was caught on camera and posted to social media by Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne on Sunday.
Conservation officer Stuart Bates says the cougar is a dispersing young adult which only recently left its mother. In all sightings, the cat was easily scared off.
Bates is reminding residents to keep their pets indoors at night and their dogs on leashes while on walks. He also says residents who jog should go during the middle of the day and keep a lookout while running.
Bob Hansen, a Wildsafe BC coordinator for the Pacific Rim region, says taking some simple measures can keep people and wildlife safe.
"We want to reinforce [the cougar’s] natural weariness of us," Hansen said, adding it’s “certainly not advised” to track the cougar for a photo.
"Those kinds of interactions, if they are able to encounter that cougar and spend some time with it, it's actually teaching the cougar exactly the wrong lesson," he said.
"If the cougar feels comfartable in their presence then that puts that cougar at risk. It also puts the communiyt at risk."
Bates is asking residents to report all sightings of the cougar to the BC Conservation Officer Service.