Cougar on the prowl

Errington-Officials close provincial
park as a precaution after cougar encounters

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park is closed for the holidays following three highly unusual cougar encounters this week.

CANDACE WU

news@pqbnews.com

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park is closed until Friday at the earliest after three cougar encounters Conservation Officer Steve Ackles called “highly unusual.”

“It’s more of a precaution,” said Ackles of the park closure which began the morning of Sunday, Dec. 21.

According to Ackles, the first sighting was reported Dec. 17 at approximately 1:30 p.m.

“A resident was out walking his dog when he noticed he was being followed by a cougar,” he said. “The cougar followed him across the lower bridge, and when he went into the outhouse the cougar circled it once, maybe twice and then moved on.”

The second encounter was reported approximately an hour later, said Ackles.

“Two individuals were walking a dog and had an encounter with a cougar on the other side of the park,” he explained. “The individuals said the cougar’s primary focus was on their dogs.”

On Dec. 20 at approximately 3:15 p.m., Ackles said he received another report, this time from a mountain biker riding the Hammerfest trails with his dog, located just 400 metres from Englishman River Falls Park.

“The biker described a similar experience, saying the cougar was more focused on his dog,” said Ackles. “More than likely, it was the same cougar in all three instances.”

Although Ackles maintains the cougar showed no aggression towards the people, he said the animal’s behavior was still atypical.

“Following people for long periods of time despite their yelling and waving their hands is unusual behavior for a cougar,” he said.

The entrance gate to the park is now closed and the area is taped off. A handwritten sign reads, “Park closed, conservation officers active in park. No people. No dogs.”

Conservation Officers have set up a live trap in the park, and plan on setting up at least one more.

However, due to the changing weather conditions Ackles said it has been difficult tracking down the cougar.

When the snow melts it takes the cougars tracks and scent with it, he said.

Englishman River Falls is slated to re open Dec. 27 if there are no further cougar sightings.

Ackles reminds the public to practice proper behavior on the chance that they come across a cougar.

“Do not ever turn your back to a cougar,” he said. “Look it in the eye and back away.”

Ackles asks anyone who has an unusual encounter with a cougar that threatens public safety to contact the 24-hour report line at 1-877-952-7277 immediately.

For more information on how to prepare for encounters with cougars visit http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/cos/index.htm#.

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An illustration was given to the Parksville’s Church of the Ascension by a person, in appreciation for allowing use of its shower facility. (Mike Favero/Submitted photo)
Parksville church makes showers available to the homeless

Pastor receives special illustration from one appreciative person

There are now plans to reduce scaled of a proposed Ballenas running track upgrade. (PQB News file photo)
Parksville Qualicum Beach running track project plans reduced in scale

Track group to switch to community grassroots level due to lack of support from regional district

Tigh-Na-Mara general manager Paul Drummond, left, and SOS executive director Susanna Newton right are prepared for a reinvented Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive in 2020. COVID-19 will not spoil the community’s annual day of giving and help for local families through the SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program. (Peter McCully photo)
Reinventing Parksville Qualicum Beach’s popular Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive

COVID-19 restrictions won’t spoil community’s annual morning of giving

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Conservation officers hope the public can provide information about who shot and left a bull and cow Roosevelt elk near Spruston Road, south of Nanaimo. (Facebook photo)
Pair of Roosevelt elk shot and left in woods south of Nanaimo

Conservation officers hope public can help find who killed the animals near Spruston Road

Most Read