The Trail RCMP is issuing a public warning after two separate sightings of cougars in recent days.
The first was reported to the Trail and Greater District detachment on Friday, just after 2:30 p.m.
Sgt. Mike Wicentowich said the wild cat was spotted on the 3100 block of Iris Crescent in Glenmerry.
“Police attended and verified that it was a cougar from the paw prints left in the snow,” he told the Trail Times. “A passing motorist flagged down the police officer at the scene and reported he had just seen the cougar near east Highway Drive.
The second incident occurred in Tadanac early Monday, and reportedly involved more than just a sighting.
“On February 11 at 4:00 a.m., a cougar was treed by a dog at the corner of Hosmer Street and Kootenay Avenue in Tadanac,” said Wicentowich.
He did not have specifics on the outcome of this encounter as of press time.
“The Trail and Greater District RCMP Detachment would like to warn the public about the potential conflict between this cougar and humans. Please be aware of the possible danger and take precautions with small animals and children where possible.”
He encourages residents to call in sightings to the RCMP and to the provincial conservation RAPP line at 1.877.952.7277.
According to WildsafeBC, attacks by cougars are rare but can be fatal, especially if young children are involved.
Cougars in conflict are usually young cougars that have not yet learned how to hunt efficiently and are looking for an easy target, or are older cougars that can no longer hunt efficiently in the wild.
WildsafeBC advises if you encounter a cougar, keep calm.
Make yourself look as large as possible and back away slowly, keeping the cougar in view, and allow a clear exit for the cougar.
Pick up children and small pets immediately. Never run or turn your back- sudden movements may provoke an attack.
If you notice that a cougar that is watching you, maintain eye contact with the cougar and speak to it in a loud firm voice. Reinforce the fact that you are a human and not an easy target.
Back out of the area and seek assistance or shelter.
If a cougar shows aggression, or begins following you, respond aggressively in all cases as cougars see you as a meal: keep eye contact, yell and make loud noises.
Pick up nearby sticks, rocks, or whatever you have at hand to quickly to use as a weapon if necessary- crouch down as little as possible when picking things up off the ground.
If the cougar attacks, fight back, focusing on its facial and eye area. Use rocks, sticks, bear spray, or personal belongings as weapons. You are trying to convince the cougar that you are a threat, and are not prey.