For the first time in decades of living near Cliff Park, Gord Uggla spotted a cougar in his east Maple Ridge neighbourhood.
Uggla’s wife Lorraine first saw the big cat about 12:30 a.m. Thursday, after it triggered a floodlight outside their house, which overlooks the park on 251st Street.
“What came down the road, I can’t believe it – an eight- to 10-foot long cougar. My wife woke me up.
“The lights went on in our property. It walked right through our property out to the streetlight at Cliff Park. You could get a real visual look at it, big long tail. This was a cougar.”
With Webster’s Corners elementary nearby, a new playground at the park, people hiking the trails of Cliff Falls, and teens hanging around at night, people should know.
“Somebody should be warning them there are cougars in the area, not just a bunch of verbal.”
Cliff municipal park adjoins Kanaka Creek Regional Park.
Doug Petersen, interim manager of Metro Vancouver regional parks (east area), said so far this year he hasn’t heard of any cougar sightings in Kanaka Creek park, but will contact Uggla and the Ministry of Environment’s conservation officer service.
“If they have a confirmed sighting within the parks boundary, that’s enough to put up a sign. We need to know it’s right in the park boundary,” in an area where people gather.
But the signs have to come down, as well, if there are no further sightings, so people don’t become complacent.
“They’ll go back up if we have more activity.”
Metro Vancouver parks has the same policies for bear and coyote sightings.
Maple Ridge parks visited Cliff Park Thursday morning and posted signs warning that a cat was in the area.
Uggla said he’ll be more careful with a big cat in the area. He’s also seen a bobcat nearby.
“We haven’t seen a cougar in the 40 years that we’ve been here, even though we all know that there are cougars in the area.”
In January 2011, a cougar killed seven farm animals along 256th Street, not far from the park.
The year before, conservation officers shot and killed a cougar that had killed two goats and a cat, also near Webster’s Corners.
People are advised to keep livestock closer to the home, leaving a radio on at night and to install motion detector lights to stop the cats from prowling on their properties.