Cougar spotted multiple times in Dilworth and Rutland areas

Cougar a 'low safety risk'

A cougar has been recently spotted multiple times in Rutland and the surrounding area, but the Conservation Officer Service says the large cat's behaviour is normal.

Thursday night, and again in the early morning hours of Friday, a couple spotted the large cat in their yard on Houghton Road.

Another Rutland resident posted to Facebook that her security camera captured a cougar on her front driveway on O'Keefe Court at 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

The BC Conservation Officer Service says the cougar was also recently spotted at night in the Dilworth Mountain and Mill Creek areas of Kelowna, but the number of sightings reported is similar to past years.

“Cougars are normally nocturnal and typically prey on their available food source within the areas they live. This diet can include primarily deer which also live within the City of Kelowna,” said Ken Owens, BC Conservation Officer.

“A cougar’s ability to travel long distances occasionally brings these cats into seemingly inappropriate areas, even places densely settled by humans. Such appearances are almost always brief, with the animal moving along quickly in its search of a suitable permanent home.”

But Owens says the cougar that's been recently spotted was exhibiting normal behaviour and “has been assessed to have a low public safety risk.”

The B.C. government estimates there are approximately 7,000 cougars living in the province. Last month, a severely emaciated cougar fatally attacked a dog on West Kelowna's Bear Lake Main Road, before a man killed the large cat with a machete.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says to never approach a cougar, and keep back at least 100 metres if one is spotted.

“Maintain eye contact, never turn your back, speak in a confident voice and slowly back out of the area. Sudden movements may provoke an attack,” the BCCOS says, adding that it's important to pick up small children if a cougar is nearby.

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