Letters to the Editor

Cougar advice not quite accurate

In Auren Ruvinsky’s Dec. 17 article (Cougar encounter close to city) the advice regarding cougars was only partially right.

He was completely wrong about “not making eye contact.” Based on the common wisdom of most authorities including author Paula Wild’s recently published The Cougar and its cougar safety checklist appendix, “If you see a cougar, maintain direct eye contact and remove sunglasses.” Wild’s well-researched book cites many other authoritative examples as to the crucial importance of maintaining such eye direct contact.

Conversely, Ruvinsky’s advice about not maintaining eye contact is correct, but only when it comes to bears.

Statistically, 56 per cent of all known cougar attacks in British Columbia have occurred on Vancouver Island. Out of the 20 provincial fatalities from such attacks, 17 were on Vancouver Island. Knowing what to look directly at, rather than away from, when experiencing one of those very infrequent sightings of such an elusive and beautiful wild creature is an imperative.

Terry Mobberley

Qualicm Beach BC

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