Penticton and South Okanagan
Cougar sightings continue
Oct 15, 2013 / 4:00 pm
Jon Salomons was getting a drink of water in his kitchen Saturday night, when he looked out the window and saw a cougar making its way across his backyard.
Salomons, who lives on the corner of Ritchie Avenue and Second Street in Naramata, is just one of several people who have sighted the big cat, or cats, in recent weeks.
"I knew it was around, but I didn't expect to see it," he said. "And just knowing it is around is cause for concern."
Already, he added, there have been reports of a small dog going missing in the neighbourhood.
Several sightings, ranging from up at Nichol Vineyard on Smethurst Road to down in the village itself, has led the Naramata Store to post a sign stating, "Caution, cougar in area."
The fear, people say, is it does not appear to be afraid of humans. The animal sighted at Nichol Vineyard, was around when there were crews picking grapes.
And Salomons' home is surrounded by other homes.
Resident Angelika Van Battum said she heard about the sighting at the vineyard and saw the sign at the store over the weekend.
"My concern is anyone doing anything about this, because there are kids and small pets here," she said. "It has really made me feel like I've been taken hostage, because I don't want to go for walks.
I can deal with bears, but cougars are unpredictable.'
Information on how to stay safe around cougars is available on the Ministry of the Environment website.
The animals 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 a residential neighbourhood, call 1-877-952-7277.
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