A cougar that has been prowling east Abbotsford this week will likely be killed once conservation officers find it.
There have been several reported sightings of the animal on and around Sumas Mountain recently, according to Don Stahl, with the Conservation Officer Service (COS).
He said the most recent sighting happened Thursday morning when a City of Abbotsford employee saw a cougar cross in front of their vehicle near the intersection of Blauson Boulevard and McKee Road. The cougar was seen walking into the wooded area around the Clayburn Creek Trail.
Stahl said there was also an unconfirmed report of a cougar in Hoon Park near the intersection of Marshall Road and Ware Street on May 7. He said that incident is likely unrelated to the east Abbotsford sightings and the animal may have been a bobcat.
Stahl said that children and other smaller people are most vulnerable to potential cougar attacks. He said parents shouldn’t allow kids to play alone in wooded areas. If they are in close to a forest, it’s a good idea to have a dog with them, if possible, he said. Dogs act as an early detection system, as they often smell or see cougars long before humans.
He said that hikers should walk with a stick to potentially ward off an attacking cougar. If you encounter a cougar, he said, stay in a group, make yourself look big and walk away from it backwards – never run away. If attacked, you should always fight back and never play dead, he said.
Stahl said it is COS policy to destroy cougars that are a persistent problem in inhabited areas. In part, he said, that policy is in place because if they were to relocate a cougar elsewhere and it attacked someone in that area, the service could potentially be liable.