Cougar sightings have risen this year compared to last. (THE NEWS/files)

Busy year for cougars in Maple Ridge

Sightings in North Fraser Zone up from last year

More calls about cougars are coming into the Conservation Officer Service’s North Fraser zone this year compared to last.

For the 2017-18 fiscal year, there were 242 calls about cougar sightings, conservation officer Todd Hunter said Wednesday, including several in Maple Ridge on Tuesday.

This year alone, starting in April to present, there’s already been half that total in the North Fraser zone.

“We’re only a few months in and we’ve got 105 already.”

During the 2015-16 period, 135 cougar sightings were reported for the zone.

Early Tuesday, three people reported seeing cougars in northeast Maple Ridge.

Another was spotted around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 12000-block of 233rd Street.

In Maple Ridge, starting this April, there have been 31 reports of cougar sightings.

Hunter said cougar numbers fluctuate, based on the amount of prey available. Recent years have seen a strong deer population, although those numbers are starting to decline.

However, predator numbers have yet to follow suit.

Long hot, dry spells also brings out cougars because it’s more difficult for them to catch their usual prey, because of greater difficulty in catching a scent or prey are not moving around as much.

With lots of apex predators looking for an easy meal, Hunter reiterated his request for people to keep their yards and farms free from potential food sources. Even garbage or pet or bird feed can attract cougars, because they follow smaller game, such as raccoons, rabbits or coyotes, who are going to houses for food.

He urges people to follow the guidelines in Wildsafe B.C. that makes suggestions for discouraging animals, such as installing an electric fence around the perimeter of a property or paddock.

Hunter said Maple Ridge remains a constant focus for the conservation service because of the number of new residents who may not be familiar with the area, and because of new homes fronting forests.

Conservation officers can help people organize their properties to discourage cougars. Then “we’re not getting the call-backs,” said Hunter.

People also should be aware when they’re on the trails. The Kanaka Creek and 256th Street area in Maple Ridge offers travel corridors for the cats.

Hikers shouldn’t go out alone and should carry a walking stick and bear spray.

Cougars usually take off if they hear a loud group. On the other hand, cougars are curious and attracted by noise and movement. They could wait by trail side and stalk hikers or mountain bikers.

If people encounter a cougar while hiking, they should back away slowly, make themselves large by putting their arms in the air, and shout commands, telling it to go away.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows and Katzie Community Response Network looks to shine light on elder abuse

One of main risks for potential abuse is isolation, which has increased with COVID-19

LETTER: Pitt Meadows man calls on B.C. government to better fund parks

Investment in parks will pay off for the future, letter writer says

Police shut down Maple Ridge highway for takedown

Commuter traffic along Lougheed was diverted Wednesday evening, while officers converged on home

COVID testing centre in Maple Ridge not relocating

Only the Urgent and Primary Care Centre moving to Haney Place Mall

Family of Maple Ridge police shooting victim still pushing for inquest

Kyaw Din’s family critical of IIO finding police not guilty of wrongdoing

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

First Nations Health Authority chief medical officer concerned with rising COVID-19 cases

“There’s still so much we don’t know and we’re learning everyday about this particular virus.”

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

Most Read