Penticton and South Okanagan
Cougar sighting in Naramata
Oct 11, 2013 / 11:14 am
The owners of Nichol Vineyard in Naramata want to get the word out that a cougar, seemingly unafraid of human activity, has been seen in the area.
Nicole Hackworth, owner of the vineyard on Smethurst Road, said last week, she and her 4-year-old son were out on the deck chopping wood, when they heard something hiding behind the woodpile.
"My son said mom there's a cougar, so I sent him inside," she said. "It was about 20 feet away. I couldn't see it, but he said it was as big as dad and dark."
The same day her son spotted the large animal, there was a crew at the location picking grapes, leading Hackworth to believe it is used to people.
"It was a very busy day here, so it obviously wasn't too concerned," she said.
In that same time period, a crew paving the nearby Kettle Valley Rail Trail saw cougar tracks and there have been other apparent sightings in the Juniper Debeck area and the village itself.
"A middle student going to catch the bus early in the morning at Juniper and Debeck, also saw the cougar, and people have seen it in the village," she said.
Hackworth said there have been other cougar sightings this year near her home and her greatest concern is the animal, or animals, are around in the daytime and not worried about being around people.
"Naramata has a lot of kids and if it's that brazen, it's not good," she said.
Cougars are attracted to children, so information provided suggests not allowing children to play unsupervised outdoors, erecting a fence around a play area and making sure they are home before dusk and stay indoors until after dawn.
If you see a cougar hanging around in a residential neighbourhood, call 1-877-952-7277.
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