Reports of a cougar being spotted around Abbotsford have diminished and environment officials are hoping the animal has moved back into the wild.
Don Stahl, a conservation officer with the B.C. Ministry of Environment, said a trap was set for the cougar for nine days earlier this month after there were four reports of it venturing into residential areas.
The cat, which would have been euthanized, was not captured and the trap was removed.
Stahl said after an Abbotsford News report was published about the four sightings, two more people came forward to say they had come across the cougar.
The first four sightings to be reported had occurred Aug. 3 on Discovery Trail, Aug. 20 on Rathtrevor Court, Sept. 4 in the area of Whatcom Road and Old Yale Road, and Sept. 9 near Batt and Bakstad roads.
One of the two additional sightings took place Aug. 28 while a group was hiking in the dark, using headlamps, near the McKee lookout and Discovery Trail by Ledgeview Golf Course.
The cougar was spotted for about five minutes on the trail, but ran off when the group made noise.
Stahl said the other sighting was about two weeks ago on a Sumas Mountain forest service road at about the two- or three-kilometre mark.
He said residents of the home of the Sept. 9 sighting had several of their backyard chickens killed and set up a video camera near their chicken coop but have not reported seeing the cougar again nor have any other sightings been called in.
However, a local resident sent a message to the Abbotsford News’ Facebook page, saying she spotted a cougar at about 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21 across from the entrance to Bateman Park on Bateman Road.
“Please let people know as a lot of kids are in the area. I told everyone at the dog park to be careful,” the message stated.
Stahl encourages anyone who spots a cougar to report it as soon as possible by calling 1-877-952-7277.
He said conservation officers receive up to 15 reports a year of cougar sightings in Abbotsford, and most cases require no intervention.
But a cougar repeatedly coming near humans is at risk of attacking and will be euthanized if caught, he said.