Cougar encounter close to city

A man walking his dogs on the trails of Little Mountain near Parksville met a cougar Saturday morning

A cougar sighting on Little Mountain near Parksville is a good reminder to be aware of the animals and report all incidents, according to conservation officer Ben York.

A Little Mountain resident told The NEWS he was out for his regular walk on Saturday morning with his mid-sized, husky-mix dogs on a leash when a full-sized cougar, larger than his dogs, appeared beside him.

He shouted at it and backed away but the cougar just followed them along until he found a big stick. The resident, who didn’t want his name used, said he just wanted to warn people since they are commonly used trails.

York agrees people should always be aware of animal encounters, especially in rural-urban interface zones and that the man had done the right thing, but it didn’t sound like a particularly troubling incident.

“Cougars are cats, sometimes they’re just curious,” York said, adding that they don’t often attend rural incidents unless there has been multiple sightings, animals attacks or stalking behaviour.

If you see a cougar make yourself as big as possible, make noise and back away looking in their direction but not making eye contact.

All sightings should be reported to the Report All Poachers and Polluters line 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).