July 24, 2013 6:00 pm
Updated: July 25, 2013 8:13 am

Watch: Fast swimming cougar seen in the waters off Vancouver Island


It’s not something we see everyday, but it might be more common than you think.

Graham Nielsen, owner of Nielsen’s Lodge in Tahsis, a village on the west coast of Vancouver Island, was guiding three guests on a fishing trip last week when they spotted something swimming in the water.

One of the guests thought it was a sea otter, but when Nielsen turned the boat around and stopped the motor, they realized it was a cougar swimming quite fast towards them.

Graham’s wife, Alanna, said the group had to pull in the fishing gear on the boat just to make sure the cougar couldn’t climb into the boat with them. “I’m sure it would have climbed on it if they had let it,” she said.

While the cougar may looking non-threatening as it’s swimming, you still don’t want to approach, pet, touch or rescue it, says B.C. Conservation Officer Dave Cox. “Just like them, we’re super curious” but the best thing you can do is leave the animal alone.

According to Cox, swimming is a very common behaviour of cougars because they’re territorial, often search for new areas to inhabit and new sources of prey. But Nielsen and his guests should consider themselves lucky, Cox says it’s rare for people to get a glimpse of a cougar let alone getting to watch one swim.

This is not the first time Graham has seen wildlife in the water while out on fishing trips. Alanna said last year he saw a wolf swimming around. But it is also common to see whales, seals and deer swimming in the waters.

Graham told Alanna he estimates the cougar was about a year old.

© 2013 Shaw Media

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