A cougar was seen walking through Ucluelet on Wednesday, Feb. 21. (Black Press File Photo)

A cougar was seen walking through Ucluelet on Wednesday, Feb. 21. (Black Press File Photo)

Cougar spotted in Ucluelet

Conservation Officer urges locals to report sightings.

A cougar was spotted in Ucluelet last week prompting a warning from the district office urging locals to be extra cautious when walking around town.

The cougar was seen around Marine Drive and Helen Road on Feb. 21 and Sgt. Ben York of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service is urging residents to call 1-877-952-7277 if the animal is observed in town again.

Conservation Officers are public safety providers who work for B.C.’s Ministry of Environment and tasked with managing human wildlife conflicts.

“It’s not a case of us running out and shooting it as soon as it shows up, we’re going the animal every chance to move on as long as it doesn’t put the public at risk,” York said. “We are asking people to let us know if they’re seeing the cougar repeatedly inside town because, obviously, if it starts hanging around in town, then the risk levels start going up.”

He said the cougar was not reported to have shown any threatening behaviour, though cougars usually travel between dusk and dawn.

“The only thing that gives us a bit of concern was that it was a full daylight sighting, which is a little bit unusual,” he said. “They are stealth hunters so they’re more likely to want to be in cover when there’s a lot of visibility…It could be something as simple as this one wasn’t hunting or doing anything other than travelling so it thought, ‘Why not walk down the road?’”

Cougars are naturally inclined to avoid humans and York said the animal will hopefully head out of town on its own, but locals must report any sightings.

“If this keeps going on regularly, we need to know about it…The more information, the better decisions we can make,” he said “It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve had a cougar or family of cougars decide that there’s more deer in town than outside of town. But, right now, we’re just going to make sure he’s not doing anything bad and we’ll leave him alone as long as there’s no risk to public safety.”

While the cougar is around, residents are urged to make sure pets are kept indoors and children are not allowed to play unsupervised in bushy areas.

“If a cougar does behave threateningly towards you, make yourself big, make yourself loud and act aggressively towards it,” York said. “You’re basically trying to say, ‘I’m going to be too much trouble to eat.’”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tourists are being asked to postpone their non-essential trips to Tofino as COVID-19 cases rise across Vancouver Island, but at least one accommodation provider is offering conflicting messaging. (Westerly file photo)
Victoria woman says Tofino Airbnb host encouraged travel despite provincial restrictions

“The only way I would get a refund is if she would be able to rebook the suite for that weekend.”

A sign outside Ucluelet’s Blue Room on Monday morning advises patrons that the restaurant has gone back to take-out only. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Some Ucluelet restaurants heading back to take-out only as COVID-19 concerns rise

Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel urges residents to be respectul of business owners’ decisions.

A sign at the entrance to Ty-Histanis asks visitors to stay out of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation announces lockdown after member tests positive for COVID-19

Essential travel only and restricted to Tofino and Ucluelet.

Tofino Sea Kayaking staff Sable Trafton holds a gift card they are contributing ‘12 Days of Jingle’ draw. One lucky local will has the chance to win $500 worth of gift cards to local merchants. (TLCC photo)
Tofino’s 12 Days of Jingle kicks off holiday season

“We wanted to do it early so people could make purchases and send them wherever they need to go.”

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Most Read