Living on a green belt in Coquitlam for 11 years, Paul Liversidge and his family are used to seeing wildlife in their backyard.
But on Sunday morning, after two separate close encounters from three ballsy cougars, Liversidge said he and his wife, Khuspal, felt like they were part of a zoo exhibit.
“We were lying in bed just before 9 a.m. and saw two cougars run from Noons Creek, at the rear of our property, across our yard and into our neighbour’s yard,” Liversidge said.
Two of the cougars then returned to their yard and stood there as the couple banged on the windows and their Australian shepherd barked before leaving.
“The last time I saw a cougar was about three or four years ago and it was small. I didn’t realize they came in groups … and they were large and looked very healthy and happy,” he said.
WATCH: Family captures close encounter with three cougars in Coquitlam backyard
Almost four hours later Liversidge said he was alerted to a second appearance by the cougars when his dog spotted one in their tree. The other cougar was sitting on their fence before it fell off, hit the ground and scampered away.
“While one immediately scampered away, the other one stood defiantly for a minute before eventually walking away,” Liversidge said.
“It was growling, hissing and baring its teeth, while we blasted the bear horn and banged on the windows.”
Liversidge said the second encounter was unnerving since the cat didn’t move once after three blasts of a bear horn.
While Liversidge said he was certainly pleased to be on the other side of the glass, he’s concerned for him and his neighbours.
“We have older kids but my neighbours have younger kids and we’re definitely nervous,” said Liversidge, who contacted the conservation service following the second sighting.
Conservation officers told them there have been a few cougar sightings and to be sure to take precautions.
Precautions aren’t an issue for the Liversidges since the family checks all the boxes when it comes to keeping an eye on pets and kids: not keeping the garbage out and having bear deterrents readily available. Now, they’ve added two surveillance cameras in the backyard to keep an eye on things and see if the cougars reappear.
Regardless of the trio’s bravado and a number of sightings in the area, Conservation Officer Todd Hunter said “their behaviour doesn’t really fit that abnormal behaviour category from the information we have, they haven’t been doing anything that would prompt us to intervene at this time.”
A cougar would need to exhibit abnormal behaviours like property loss by the killing of pets or livestock and/or property damage that’s significant.
The conservation service will not be issuing any warnings at this time because, as Hunter says, cougars are expected to be out there in the wild, especially when living in a greenbelt.
Hunter said being attacked by a cougar is something that does not happen frequently and people can defend themselves with knowledge.
If you do encounter a cougar in your yard, Hunter says you should give the cat some space, back up slowly (never run), get as much distance between you and the cat as you can and get indoors, if possible.
While the sighting isn’t alarming to conservation, Hunter says they will be monitoring them very closely.
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