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Cougar spotted near West Kelowna elementary school

Cougar sighting 'normal'

A reported cougar sighting near Rose Valley Elementary School this week has been investigated by B.C.'s Conservation Officer Service.

CO Terry Myroniuk says a cougar was spotted in the Rose Valley Regional Park area on Wednesday.

Myroniuk spoke with the school and says staff are prepared for wild animals.

"That school backs onto Rose Valley Regional Park, which is a very vast continuous piece of wilderness which is a natural habitat for cougars, deer, and bear. It's not the type of area we are alarmed about seeing a cougar. We expect to see them there, in fact, that's where we want them."

Myroniuk says the Okanagan has a very healthy cougar population, and it's completely normal for hikers to encounter cougars in their own habitat.

"We appreciate having sightings reported because that way we can track the animals' movements and cougar activity," he said.

With deer breeding season underway, some of the animals are making their way to the valley bottom. Deer are the number one prey species for cougar, so when there is an increase in deer in the valley bottom, often the cougars will follow them.

"It's easier for them to hunt where there are higher concentrations of deer," says Myroniuk, "but they also prefer to avoid people, for the most part."

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