Happy news about animals
When Dave Gordon’s dog started barking at 3 p.m. last Friday Gordon thought it was the usual bunny hopping across his lawn.
But when his 15-year-old son, Rion looked out of the window of his home on East Shawnigan Lake Rd., he saw something not so warm and fuzzy.
A healthy-looking six-foot long cougar was staring back at him.
“He just stood there in the driveway looking up at us for about minute and we’re looking back at him with our mouths open. I finally ran up and got camera just as he was starting to leave,” Gordon said. “I think the cat was more interested in the dog barking. I think that was what held his interest.”
The cougar then walked across the driveway into the bush and they lost site of them.
As Gordon’s one-acre property is at the bottom of Mount Baldy, he thinks the cat walked down from the mountain.
He’s been hiking in the bush for 25 years and he’s never seen a sign of a cougar.
“It’s pretty funny to see one in my own yard.”
His son, Rion, was also surprised and more than a little concerned.
“That’s usually the time he comes home from school,” Gordon said. “That would be something if (the cougar) was waiting for him up the driveway.”
The first thing they did after the cat left was to let neighbours know.
Conservation officer Patrick McHarg said it’s not uncommon to see cougars around a major deer population, like on Vancouver Island, because deer is their number one food.
“If you see a cougar that happens to be crossing your property and it looks like it’s entering one part and walking through and going out the other, consider yourself very lucky,” he said. “It’s very, very seldom, even for people who spend time in the wild, to get the opportunity to see a cougar.”
McHarg cautions if you live in a built-up area or an area that has small children, then it’s best to get in touch with the call centre at 1 877 952-7277 to let them know.
The phone is staffed 24 hours.
McHarg said if you see a cougar west of Shawnigan Lake while on Renfrew Road it’s not unusual, but if you see one in downtown in Mill Bay by Tim Horton’s, then it needs to be reported.
“Cougars are an elusive animal,” he said. “They stalk their prey and take a long time to decide whether the figure they’re stalking will cause them more harm than benefit as a food source.”
For normal adult-sized people, the chance of being harassed by a cougar is slight.
“They don’t look at us as humans, they looking at us as a food source, that’s why very small children are susceptible to cougars,” McHarg said. Small pets are in also in danger because of their size.
His advice if you see a cougar is to stand tall, throw rocks and yell, and if you have a pack, swing away; anything to show aggression. The cougar will reassess the situation and back off.
For Dave Gordon, he doesn’t see the cougar as a threat, though sighting it was unnerving.
After the cougar left Gordon checked the ground on his property but there was no sign of paw prints anywhere.
“It was pretty funny, when he walked into the bush about 10 seconds later, a little brown rabbit came roaring out and took off in the other direction.”