Rare cougar sighting in endangered forest on Vancouver Island
The Ancient Forest Alliance photographer documented the two cougars, likely a mother with her juvenile offspring, from his car. (photo: TJ Watt)
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Friday, August 5, 2016 12:50PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, August 5, 2016 12:54PM PDT
A conservation photographer has captured a rare photo and video of cougars in the Walbran Valley.
According to a B.C. organization that works to protect endangered forests, cougars on the island tend to avoid clear cut areas.
The Ancient Forest Alliance photographer documented the two cougars, likely a mother with her juvenile offspring, from his car.
“I’ve spent over a decade exploring the old-growth forests of Vancouver Island several times a week, and I grew up here, but I never saw a cougar until this past weekend,” TJ Watt said.
In the brief sighting the large cougar casually bounded across the road and paused momentarily, which is when Watt captured the photo.
The video, which was captured moments later, shows the smaller cougar meandering on the road.
Watt said seeing the carnivores was a “dream come true.”
According to the alliance, old-growth forests provide cover for cougars and wintering habitats for their main prey, black-tailed deer.
It’s estimated that there are between 300 and 800 cougars on Vancouver Island, the alliance says.
The Walbran and adjacent Carmanah Valley’s forests are also home to wolves, black bears, Roosevelt elk, spawning coho, steelhead in the river and marbled murrelet.
You can watch the video of the cougar here: http://ctv.news/qz16JuQ