Boy in cougar attack mistaken for prey – biologist

An 18-month-old boy is in serious condition at BC Children’s Hospital following a cougar attack Monday evening. The child likely resembled prey because of its small size and high-pitched voice, a biologist said.

An 18-month-old boy is in serious condition at BC Children’s Hospital following a cougar attack Monday evening.

The attack happened at 6 p.m. Monday at a day-use area at Kennedy Lake in the Pacific Rim National Park, 16 kilometres east of Ucluelet.

In an interview on CBC Radio Tuesday, Ucluelet biologist Bob Hampton said that the family of four was packing up and heading for the car when the cat emerged from the woods and pounced.

The child was close to adults and that didn’t deter the cat, Hampton said.

The family did everything right when the cougar attacked, Parks Canada spokesperson Renee Wissink said.

“When the attack occurred, they stood their ground, they made a lot of noise, they frightened the cat off right away so the contact was very, very brief.”

The child could have resembled prey to the cougar because of its small size and high-pitched voice, Hampton said.

Parks Canada and B.C. Conservation officers are hunting the animal down. Hampton said that a contributing factor in the attack could be that there are fewer deer for cougars to hunt inland. Officials have noticed that there have been more deer sighted along the coastline this year.

The boy was flown to BC Children’s Hospital with undetermined injuries.

According to a hospital spokesperson the boy is in serious condition and is being monitored closely.

The family has requested privacy and is not granting interviews, the spokesperson said.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com