Mark Carson got the shock of his life when he went outside his home to investigate what he thought were raccoons fighting in the middle of the night in his Summerland neighbourhood on March 14.
“It was still dark and [I] went outside with a flashlight to my neighbour’s property. A cougar just killed a deer,” he said.
The gruesome sight was a stark reminder of how close the cougar was to homes.
Carson contacted police, local fire and conservation but wants to put out a warning to residents who live in the popular neighbourhood of Peach Orchard Road.
The cougar’s kill was at Peach Orchard Road and Blewett Road on the opposite side of the municipal campground. The area is popular for those who like to stroll along Summerland’s lower town.
BC Conservation confirmed they attended the scene but someone had removed the deer carcass before they arrived. They have since put up a cougar alert sign at the location where the deer was killed.
BC Conservation said cougars are common in areas with a high urban deer population. Summerland has a very high deer population much like other Okanagan communities.
“Where the deer go, cougars follow,” said Conservation Officer David Cox, adding that the Cartwright Mountain area is prime cougar habitat.
There have been several cougar sightings in Summerland in the past few weeks including an encounter with a jogger at Test of Humanity in February. In that case, the cougar came at the jogger but the man yelled and screamed and the cougar fled.
WildSafe BC has created a video showing video of how many cougars are living among us in B.C. and how to be safe.
If there is an encounter with a cougar, Cox said the person should try to appear large and should be loud. People with children or pets should pick them up. Those encountering cougars are advised not to turn around and run.
To report a cougar sighting to a conservation officer call 1-877-952-7277. The line is open 24 hours, seven days a week.
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