The City of Pitt Meadows is reporting a cougar sighting in the downtown area and advising the public to be cautious.
The warned was posted on the city’s Facebook page. It advises people to “be careful and report any sightings to B.C. Conservation Officers at 1-877-952-7277.”
According to the Protecting Pitt Meadows social media page, a young cougar was spotted at 12:45 a.m. near the Otter Co-Op on Harris Road, and it went through the nearby Chelsea Court town homes.
City communications manager Carolyn Baldridge said Conservation officers are aware of the sighting, and are following up.
Residents have been advised to not leave children or pets unattended, and to keep pets on a leash while walking them.
Wildsafe B.C.’s cougar safety says:
“Attacks by cougars are rare but can be fatal, especially if young children are involved. Cougars in conflict are usually young cougars that have not yet learned how to hunt efficiently and are looking for an easy target, or are older cougars that can no longer hunt efficiently in the wilds.
“If you encounter a cougar, keep calm. Make yourself look as large as possible and back away slowly, keeping the cougar in view, and allowing a clear exit for the cougar. Pick up children and small pets immediately. Never run or turn your back- sudden movements may provoke an attack.
“If you notice that a cougar that is watching you, maintain eye contact with the cougar and speak to it in a loud firm voice. Reinforce the fact that you are a human and not an easy target. Back out of the area and seek assistance or shelter.
“If a cougar shows aggression, or begins following you, respond aggressively in all cases as cougars see you as a meal: keep eye contact, yell and make loud noises. Pick up nearby sticks, rocks, or whatever you have at hand to quickly to use as a weapon if necessary- crouch down as little as possible when picking things up off the ground. If the cougar attacks, fight back, focusing on its facial and eye area. Use rocks, sticks, bear spray, or personal belongings as weapons. You are trying to convince the cougar that you are a threat, and are not prey.”
• More details as they become available.