Cougars spotted: Unusually high number of sightings in Long Beach area prompt advisory

EDITOR’S NOTE: Read this story for tips on being prepared for encountering wildlife. Officials say four cougars have been spotted in and around Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Several individuals have reported seeing a cougar mother and two big cubs around Long Beach Lodge. This photo was taken in the Long Beach area in March. This "unusually high number of cougar sightings" has prompted a cougar advisory from Parks Canada. "The cougars have not shown any signs of problem behaviours. Cougars and wolves are native to Vancouver Island and, as predators, are vital to a healthy coastal ecosystem," said a Parks Canada spokesperson. "They may be encountered anywhere in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. National parks are great places to view wildlife in their natural habitat, however if they become accustomed to people, they are in danger of losing their wildness." 

To help these animals stay wild and to help visitors stay safe, Parks Canada would like to remind the public of the following safety tips: 

· Keep dogs on a leash at all times 

· Never approach a wolf or cougar 

· If approached by a wolf or cougar, back away slowly while maintaining eye contact and create as much noise as possible. Wave arms to appear larger. Pick children up. 

· Carry bear spray and an airhorn and use these items if approached by a cougar. 

The public is asked to advise Parks Canada of any wolf or cougar sightings by calling 1-877-852-3100 with any specific details regarding the time and location of the sighting and information about animal behaviour.