A cougar spotted on the Canyon View Trail last Thursday managed to evade conservation officers and tracking dogs.
Conservation officers received four different phone calls from trail users who noticed the big cat lurking about 200-300 metres away from the outhouses near the John Hart Dam Generating Station.
“It was moving around adjacent to Highway 28 and the Campbell River, pretty close to the generating station,” said Conservation Officer Ryan Gordon.
“Two officers and contracted houndsmen with two tracking dogs arrived around 2 p.m.”
The area was closed off for four and a half hours while officers tried to hunt down the cougar.
Gordon said although the dogs did indicate there had been a cougar in the area, the animal was never found.
“The last call we got was from an individual whose dog had chased the cougar up a tree,” Gordon said.
“We did a grid pattern around the area to see where he was headed and the search indicated he had moved out of the area, towards Highway 28.”
The incident on the Canyon View Trail is just one in a string of recent cougar sightings.
Gordon said conservation officers have received several reports within the last week of a cougar hanging around the Quinsam Campground and said it’s likely the same cat.
“It’s not abnormal to have cougar sightings in our area but it is unusual that the cougar hasn’t moved out of the area,” Gordon said.
“Usually people who call have just got a glimpse of a cougar on the side of the road or of one running through their backyard. They usually move on pretty quickly.”
Gordon said just last Friday he received a couple of calls from people who noticed a cougar on Quinsam Road.
“There has been a cougar in and around that area for some time, a month at least,” Gordon said.
“We’ll just wait for updates and if there’s another sighting, we will definitely respond.”
Gordon warned it’s possible the cougar could return to the Canyon View Trail and urges trail users to be aware of their surroundings and to exercise caution.
If you encounter a cougar, don’t run but face the cougar and make yourself look big by raising your arms. Try to get to higher ground than the cougar and don’t make any sudden movements.
To report a cougar sighting, please call the RAPP line, 1-877-952-7277.