Recently reported cougar sightings in the Millennium Walkway and Twin Rivers Park area have prompted city officials to issue a warning regarding public safety around the big cats.
Sgt. Laurel Mathew with Castlegar RCMP said there have been several calls regarding sightings, but the calls have been made too late after the fact.
“Conservation was contacted regarding this issue, and they ask if someone spots this cougar to call their office as soon as possible, for the following reasons: cougar scent does not last long; they have to call out cougar hounds to track a cougar, and this takes a bit of time; dogs are not able to differentiate between a cougar scent and a regular cat, so the faster they can get the dogs out there to determine the cougar scent and track it, the better,” Mathew said.
Conservation officers need a starting point when trying to track a cougar, and also a specific time of the sighting so they know the time delay.
“The public is urged to be cautious when walking in these areas, and to be very aware of their surroundings,” she said. “Also, keep your pets on a leash, and monitor especially smaller pets.”
It is also recommended that cats are kept inside as there have also been coyote sightings.
The toll free number to report a cougar sighting is 1-877-952-7277.