Cougar spends day in tree in Crawford Estates area

Cougar perched in tree

A cougar decided to make itself comfortable at a home in Kelowna's Crawford Estates last week.

Val Partrick says the big cat stayed in her backyard for over 14 hours on Sept. 15.

“My husband was leaving for work and he heard something by the side of our house and he looked and he saw the cougar.” 

She says the cougar got spooked and ran into the backyard up a tree and it stayed perched on the tree for 45 minutes before coming back down. The cougar then explored their yard, leading Partrick’s husband to call the BC Conservation Officer Service. 

“[The conservation officer] said ‘Oh, he won’t hang around, it’s on its way back to the forest. I waited a while and we hadn’t seen it so I went out and had a little look,” she said.

After checking the yard for the cougar, she thought it had moved on, so let out her springer-spaniel, Macie. 

"I saw her sniffing back by the tree where the cougar was and I thought she smells it, and then she starts barking like mad.” 

As she frantically attempted to get Macie to come back into the house the cougar jumped back up the same tree. This time, a conservation officer visited the home.

“He said there’s nothing they can do, they just have to wait and it’ll probably be there all day and it’ll leave at night when it’s dark.”

And that’s exactly what happened. Partrick doesn't exactly know when the cougar left, but they last photographed it at 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday. A conservation officer returned the next morning to ensure the cat had gone and to warn neighbours of the sighting.

“In my 14 years in this house and I do all the trails in the Crawford area, I have never seen a cougar," Partrick said.

The visitor created quite the commotion in the neighbourhood, with some coming over to capture photos. 

“After it’s over you realize how kind of amazing getting such a close-up of that animal. At the time during the day, I was nervous all-day, I kept feeling like I had to go check, is it still there, is it still there? Even taking my dog out the front for a walk, I was nervous."

On Sept. 16, the Regional District of Central Okanagan reported cougar activity in Kelowna's Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Regional Park.

If you observe a cougar or bear within any regional park, contact the Parks Services office at 250-469-6232 and the Conservation Officer Service RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.

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