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Cougar spotted again in east Maple Ridge

Abbas Farahbakhchian and his dog  Fernando scared the cougar away - Colleen Flanagan/The News
Abbas Farahbakhchian and his dog Fernando scared the cougar away
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/The News

Abbas Farahbakhchian knows the wild creatures were here before humans were and they have to eat. So maybe the bald eagle was hungry a few weeks ago and couldn’t get any salmon, leading it to swoop in, trying to get a free chicken dinner from his acreage near 250th Street and Marshall Avenue in east Maple Ridge. A brave rooster, however, scared off the predator and kept his flock intact. Last week, a cougar had the same idea. Farahbakhchian was in his back yard around 10 a.m. Wednesday when the big cat jumped the 2.5-metre fence into his yard. “I saw him. He came just for the chicken.” Getting over the two- or three-metre fence was no problem. “So easy, like a deer. And he came at a very high speed to the chickens. He jumped so high,” he said, describing the cat’s entrance. But another fence blocked the way and kept the cat from getting into the chicken coop. The sight of Farahbakhchian and his old dog Fernando, a German shepherd-rottweiler cross, also changed the cat’s mind and he leaped back over the fence and disappeared into the bush. “I think, at that time, he saw me and my dog. Otherwise, he would have killed all the chickens.” The cougar was bigger than what he thought it would be like. “Maybe he’ll come back again, I don’t know.” Farahbakhchian accepts the wildlife drama in his back yard. He figures one of his longtime neighbours of a dozen years is a black bear who hides out in the bush next door and makes regular visits into his back yard for apples and pears. “He breaks the fence so easy. One time he ate 40 apples, pears, everything I have in the garden.” The yard is also visited by wily coyotes, but they can’t get into the yard. Still, he’s worried about any small children and small dogs and pets who could be in danger, even if they’re in a fenced yard. “The only thing I’m concerned about is the children. Very dangerous because they [cougars] are hungry and everything and they do it so fast – 80 to 90 kilometres an hour.”

• People in British Columbia currently have 24-hour access to report wildlife conflict concerns. The public can contact 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) to report incidents of human-wildlife conflict or to report a violation of provincial regulations or legislation.

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