File photo

File photo

Cougar wandering near Fernie homes destroyed

A cougar has been destroyed by conservation officers in Fernie after being found in a residential area and showing no fear towards humans.

The animal was reported wandering in the area of 4th Avenue in Fernie Monday night, close to the LeRoux Mansion.

Two conservation officers responded to the call and located the cougar in the greenspace separating 4A Avenue and the Elk River. After assessing the animal the officers found it to show no fear of people, and based on its behaviour the cougar was destroyed.

Conservation officers discovered after further inspection that it was a young male in good health. They found no reason to believe there was more than one cougar in the area.

Conservation Officer Jeff Piwek explained that Fernie is surrounded by excellent wildlife habitat and as the season changes to fall, reminded residents to be mindful of keeping attractants secured to help reduced the likelihood of wildlife coming into town and causing trouble.

“At night we recommend people wear bright and/or reflective clothing and carry a flashlight,” he said. “This will keep them safe around vehicles and allow them to see if there are any wildlife on the trail or road.

In response to the incident, WildsafeBC said that although cougar attacks are extremely rare, it’s important to know how to react in the event of an encounter.

If you encounter a cougar, stay calm and do not run. Pick up small children and small pets, and let the cougar know you are a threat and not prey. Make yourself as large as possible, and use your voice in a loud and assertive manner. Back away slowly, and never turn your back. If the cougar shows aggression, respond aggressively in all cases, as cougars see you as a meal. Keep eye contact, yell and make loud noises: show your teeth. If the cougar attacks, fight back, focusing on its facial and eye area.

To report a wildlife sighting and wildlife issue, call the 24/7 Report All Poachers & Polluters (RAPP) phone line at 1-877-952-7277.