'Literally on our front door': Cougar filmed in island neighbourhood
COURTENAY -- A late-night visitor has homeowners living in a Courtenay cul-de-sac checking their surveillance cameras to track the animal's movements.
Cary Deederly got a message from a neighbour alerting them to the fact that a big cat had walked across their driveway Wednesday evening, and Deederly says she was then shocked to see it had also been in her yard.
"I checked my video and I saw it was on my porch, literally on our front door," she said. "I was shocked to see that video – like if I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed someone saw a cougar in our front yard, no."
The cougar had toured through the Bryden Place area of Courtenay near Muir Road. It's a location where cougars are not normally seen even though there is a duck pond nearby.
"There is a walking access point, one of the walking paths that goes into the duck pond so that's where it would have headed off to," said Deederly.
Deederly has been chatting with neighbours to see who else may have captured the reclusive creature on video.
"We all have security cameras now just because of the break-ins that have happened in the neighbourhood in the last year," she said. "Everyone's checking their cameras now to see it."
Deederly says the cameras go off quite a bit at night because of domestic cats walking around, and even wild rabbits. She was amazed the cougar followed the same path the domestic felines do.
"It went in the same path the cats go. They come right through my flower bed in the front, they hug the front door and they go around the garage," she said.
Deederly says her immediate thought was to contact the BC Conservation Officer Service to make sure they were aware of the sightings because the area has popular walking paths for children walking to nearby schools.
Jillian Bjarnason of the BC Conservation Officer Service confirms that the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line was contacted. She says that conservation officers like being kept in the loop for sightings such as these.
Bjarnason adds that late night visit from cougars are not uncommon.
"They are nocturnal predators so what happens is the small prey, rodents, and even pets and deer draw cougars down into residential areas," she said.
She adds that homeowners have a role to play in cutting down on wildlife attractants.
"Just making sure pets are brought in at nighttime. If you're out walking anywhere out in wildlife habitat it's a great idea to keep your pets on a leash, and removing any other type of attractants that draw in small prey like pet food and seeds," she said.
Deederly says she wanted to make sure neighbours in the area were alerted to the animal's presence.
"There's a lot of little kids that go to Queneesh School here," she said. "You're not looking for cougars right? My youngest walks to Vanier (school), there's a walk path by the cemetery. All the kids walk through the wooded area towards Vanier and they have no idea because you're not going to think there's cougar there."