Kelowna residents are being told to be careful if they go to a popular local park in the wake of an incident that saw a cougar lunge at a man who was walking his dog.
“The man was walking his leashed, large-breed dog at Mission Creek Regional Park when he noticed a cougar following them,” the BC Conservation Office wrote in a public alert.
“The cougar then lunged and attempted to attack the dog but was scared off. There were no injuries.”
The incident happened around 6:30 p.m. Sunday and was reported to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service on Monday morning.
“While roaming pets are prey for cougars, aggressive behaviour towards a leashed dog is uncommon and concerning,” the conservation office said.
Signs warning of the big cat have been placed at the park and conservation officers have spoken with regional district parks staff regarding this incident and are closely monitoring the situation.
The public is asked to report any aggressive cougar behaviour to the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277.
If you encounter a cougar
- Stop — don’t approach or feed a cougar at any time for any reason.
- Keep back at least 100 m.
- Stay calm. Detour around any cougar to give it space. Do not run. Maintain eye contact, never turn your back, speak in a confident voice and slowly back away. Avoid sudden movements.
- Keep children nearby and in your sight. Pick up all small children immediately.
- Avoid walking alone.
- Use natural barriers and keep trees or other large obstacles between you and the cougar. Carry bear spray, a walking stick and noisemakers. Make noise as you move to avoid surprise encounters.
- If a cougar approaches, stand your ground, appear large, make noise, hold your coat open, raise your arms and do not bend over or crouch down. Use a stick or rock for protection and use your bear spray.
- If the cougar attacks, fight back.
- Note that dogs may provoke a cougar attack. Keep pets on a leash or at home.