Living in cougar country

Author Paula Wild as she gives a slideshow presentation her new book that explores our evolving relationship with this enigmatic animal

Vancouver Island and its surrounding islands are known not only for having the highest density of cougars, but also the most aggressive cougar population in North America.

Join author Paula Wild as she gives a slideshow presentation, talk and book signing for her new book that explores our evolving relationship with this enigmatic animal: The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous (Douglas & McIntyre), in both Campbell River and on Quadra Island this October.

The Campbell River event will take place at the Campbell River Library (1240 Shoppers Row) tomorrow (Oct. 17) starting at 6:30 p.m.; admission is free; books will be for sale from Coho Books. The Quadra Island event is hosted by the Quadra Island Sierra Club and will take place at the Quadra Island Community Centre (970 West Road) on Saturday, October 19 starting at 7:30pm; admission is by donation and refreshments are provided; books will be for sale by Book Bonanza.

Chances are, anyone who spends time in the woods in cougar country has been close to a cougar, whether they knew it or not. It can be a scary thought, especially combined with the lengthy history of recorded encounters that have occurred on Vancouver Island in the last two hundred years or more, many of which are told in Paula Wild’s The Cougar. There are tales of bounty hunters like the infamous Cougar Annie who shot a cougar on her seventy-third birthday; attack stories like that of the woman living in a logging camp in the ’50s who was attacked two separate times by the same cougar in one day, it had so fixated on her as prey; and surprising accounts of encounters occurring where you’d least expect it, like the parking garage at the Empress Hotel in Victoria.

However, as Wild says in The Cougar, “co-existing with cougars isn’t about fear, it’s about knowledge.”

Through a skillful blend of natural history, scientific research and many first-hand accounts, along with amazing photos and detailed information on what to do in the case of a cougar encounter, Wild explores what makes this animal that has both fascinated and frightened Vancouver Islanders throughout history so beautiful, so dangerous, and why cougars remain such an important and valuable part of our environment.

Paula Wild is the author of several books, including One River, Two Cultures, The Comox Valley and Sointula: Island Utopia, winner of a B.C. Historical Federation Certificate of Merit.