Cougar lounging on sundeck had to be put down in January. (THE NEWS/files)

Cougar, or maybe a bobcat spotted in Maple Ridge

Conservation urges people not to attract wildlife

Wildlife keeps popping up all over the place in Maple Ridge with two possible cougar or bobcat sightings on Monday.

Early Monday, someone reported a cougar wandering around Rothsay Heights, north of Dewdney Trunk Road in the 272nd Street area. That prompted one resident on Facebook to say that her dogs would be on leash today, while another ensured her dog would stay inside.

Conservation officer Todd Hunter, though, said there have been no recent confirmed reports of cougars in the area.

Wild Wednesday – Season 2 – Episode 22 – Cougar safety! from WildSafeBC on Vimeo.

However, also on Monday, someone reported seeing a cougar in the 12000-block of 221st Street.

Hunter said that’s an odd location and it’s possible the animal was actually a bobcat.

“They’re very distinguishable when you know what to look for.”

The bobcat is about half the size of a cougar, has no tail and has pointy ears and big feet and generally just goes after small animals such as squirrels or rabbits, but maybe the odd small dog or cat.

“The way they described it, it had very large paws.”

Hunter said that, generally, bobcats are solitary and don’t usually come into conflicts with people.

But he urged residents to manage their attractants to the “lowest level,” that is, not leaving anything out that can attract animals such as mice or rats.

Those rodents, in turn, will attract larger animals, such as coyotes, which eat rats.

But the coyotes, in turn, can attract cougars, Hunter said.

“They will prey on them. We have several confirmed reports of people witnessing it,” a cougar killing a coyote.

In mid-January, conservation officers had to kill a cougar that had become accustomed to lounging in front yards and on patios of a trailer park in the Ruskin area of east Maple Ridge.

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