Warning signs are up along the trail behind the Sportsplex after a teenager was chased by a cougar.
Last Thursday afternoon, a teenage boy was skateboarding down the bike path between South Alder Street and Rockland Road when he encountered the cat.
As the teen approached the foot bridge near the trail’s Rockland entrance, he spotted the cougar and that’s when the cougar decided to follow.
“He was chased and he ran out or skateboarded out to Rockland Road,” said Gord Gudbranson, North Island conservation officer. “He waved down a passing motorist who gave the boy a ride back to the Sportsplex.”
The incident was reported to Sportsplex staff who called conservation officers at approximately 3:15 p.m.
Gudbranson said RCMP and natural resource officers cordoned off both sides of the bike path as well as trails behind Springbok Road and off South Dogwood Street. Cougar hounds and conservation officers searched the wooded area between Rockland and Dogwood as well as the trails between South Alder and Candy Lane but the cougar was nowhere to be found.
A warning sign that a cougar was spotted in the area is posted at the foot bridge on the bike trail and conservation officers are asking anyone who sees a cougar in the area to report it.
Gudbranson is also asking people to be vigilant in the Petersen and ERT area after a 14-year-old boy was stalked by a cougar on a trail between the ERT Road and Hopkin Road the evening of July 9. That incident has not been linked to last Thursday’s cougar encounter.
Gudbranson said anyone who goes walking, running, or cycling in a greenbelt – or in an area where there are deer – should be aware that cougars could be in the area.
He said that just prior to the incident along the bike path, a couple of deer had been seen near the trail.
“People should always be diligent when walking in green spaces,” Gudbranson said. “Cougars are very curious and they follow people more than we know – they’re very quiet. If people do see a cougar, they should maintain eye contact, never turn away from the cougar and run, and make yourself as big as possible. Act aggressively towards the cougar and throw anything you can at it – sticks or rocks.”
Report cougar sightings to 1-877-952-7277.