An injured cougar has been reported near a Maple Ridge park.
A woman running through Albion Park reported the cougar to the Maple Ridge branch of the BC SPCA at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 28. She said she was running along a trail, when the feline ran across her path and that it appeared to be limping and “bleeding profusely,” explained conservation officer Alicia Stark.
Stark happened to be only about 10 minutes away with another conservation officer, and when they arrived officers from the BC SPCA had already closed off the area.
Stark, the other conservation officer and a BC SPCA officer searched the area on foot.
The woman who spotted the cougar had told the SPCA she was on a muddy trail, as opposed to the gravel trails that run through the park.
“In our favour, mud is good for holding tracks,” said Stark.
The officers discovered a single cougar track, but no blood.
“If the cougar was bleeding profusely, there should have been a blood trail we could follow to the cougar,” explained Stark.
The trio walked the entire park and examined all the trail systems. Once they were confident there was only the one track, they left.
About an hour later, Stark contacted the woman who reported the sighting, who told her the cougar had run across the trail and that she thought she saw a wound on the cat’s rear, left leg.
If the cougar was running, it can’t be that injured, said Stark, noting from the tracks they found they could tell the cougar was running fast.
“What we look for, is for the animal to still be mobile,” she added.
At this time, Stark said, they are going to let nature take its course and see if they receive any future reports of an injured cougar, or any cougar sighting in the area.
Signs have been posted by the city alerting park users to the cougar sighting and the WildSafeBC coordinator has reached out to residents and local schools, she said.
SD42 sent out a notice just before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, to alert students and their families that a “possible” injured animal was seen at Albion Park. It asked parents to refrain from letting their children hang out at the park until the status of the cougar is confirmed.
“If it got injured, we don’t know how it got injured,” Stark said, noting the Conservation Officer Service didn’t get any reports of a cougar being hit by a car or anything of that nature.
“But because it’s still so mobile, nature’s a wonderful thing, it may heal itself,” she said.
The BC SPCA regularly see cougars in this area, she added.
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