Cougars spotted in Valley

Cougars have been spotted roaming around certain areas in Port Alberni over the past several weeks.

A cougar is spotted running across the Alberni Highway next to Coombs Country Candy in mid May by Port Alberni resident Laura Dahiman.

Cougars have been spotted roaming around certain areas in Port Alberni over the past several weeks.

“We have received a few reports of cougars in the Port Alberni area,” said Dan Eichstadter, Port Alberni conservation officer. “Recently we’ve heard of a cougar and her kittens near Papermill Dam area. They’ve been seen a couple times right at that dawn, dusk time and that’s typically when you would see a cougar.”

In the past couple of weeks, Eichstadter said the cats have also been reported in the Roger Creek area and around Tebo Avenue and close to a month ago reports were made of cougars spotted crossing the highway near Coombs Country Candy.

“We look for any threatening or aggressive behaviour involved. If [the cougar] doesn’t have any of that we take it as a sighting and as long as there’s no risk to the public then we’ll just monitor the cats’ activity from that point,” Eichstadter said.

He said based on the information reported, it is not possible to say whether or not it is the same cougar family that has been spotted in the various locations.

It is common for cougars to dwell in forested areas where prey, like rabbits, grouse and deer,  can easily be found. Anyone who comes in close proximity to a cougar should not be alarmed and make themselves known to the mammals.

“Keep your group of people together and keep your pets on a leash close to you. That makes you and the group look big and threatening to the cat,” Eichstadter said. “Most of the time that cat will just run away because their typical response is to run.”

It is still too early in the season to say whether or not there are more or less cougar sightings than last year, Eichstadter said.

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