B.C. conservation officers have tracked and killed a juvenile cougar after a 14-year-old was followed by two of the big cats on Tuesday night in Port Coquitlam.
Conservation officer Alicia Stark said the incident was reported around 9:20 p.m. in the Hyde Creek area. There was no contact between the teen and the animals, she said.
Responding officers and a dog team were able to track one of the animals down, but the other — believed to be the cougar’s mother — remains at large.
At least three mountain lions showing “bold” behaviour are believed to still be in the area.
Security cameras captured what appeared to be a mother and three juveniles walking down a street in the Burke Mountain area, along with a cougar pacing through a townhouse complex in broad daylight.
“We do see an increased call volume at this time of year involving cougars, but this bold behaviour is not normal, especially the bold behaviour we are seeing increase in the urban area,” Stark said.
“We ask that the public still be aware of their surroundings and take precautions necessary, keep dogs on-leash even if it’s just in the backyard for a few minutes.”
Officers still aren’t sure what is behind the cats’ boldness, she added.
There have been several recent interactions between cougars and dogs in the Tri-Cities area.
Carry van Aswegen told Global News her dog was on-leash with her husband outside their Coquitlam home last week when it was snatched by one of the animals.
“It was within seconds,” she said. “No time to react whatsoever.”
Van Aswegen’s husband found the dog, which suffered serious injuries, including a partially crushed skull, in a neighbour’s backyard.
She said she is concerned with how conservation officers handled the incident, noting that were two schools nearby.
“When I phoned this in, they said, ‘Thank you very much, we’re not doing anything until something else happens,'” she said.
“That is, for me, totally not acceptable. They took it really too lightly.”
Conservation officers remain stationed in the area of Cedar Drive and Hyde Creek in Port Coquitlam looking for the animals.
Pet owners are being asked to keep their animals inside or on a leash at all times.
Anyone who encounters a cougar should make themselves look large, make loud sounds and slowly back away from the animal, officials say.