A cougar was spotted in Maple Ridge last week but there is no reason to be alarmed.
B.C’s conservation service has received only one call about the cat and no reports of livestock or pets being attacked.
The cougar was seen around 4:30 p.m. Aug. 13, walking along a fence line near the Albion sports complex.
Conservation officer Don Stahl said it is common for cougars to wander into residential areas. Although Roosevelt elk have been grazing in a green belt nearby, Stahl doubts the cougars are trailing them.
“They are usually going after house cats … or squirrels and racoons,” he added.
“Maple Ridge is completely surrounded by forests. The creeks and streams are like wildlife highways.”
Cougar populations are on the rise across B.C., with 1,428 sightings reported from January to mid-July this year compared to 1,273 during the same period in 2012.
If you see a cougar, do not turn and run.
“It triggers a prey-predator instinct in a cougar,” said Stahl.
“Back away from the cat, facing it. Make yourself look bigger and menacing.”
If you live in an area where there’s been a recent cougar sighting, keep your pets inside for a few days.
Cougar attacks on humans however are rare. In the past 100 years, only five people have been killed by cougars in B.C.
If you are attacked by a cougar, do not play dead. Stahl says fight back, use anything you can as a weapon and focus your attack on the cougar’s face and eyes.
• Report cougar sightings by calling 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or if the cougar is being aggressive, call 911.