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Conservation officer confirms Prince Rupert cougar sightings

A cougar was caught on security footage taken near Summit Avenue following more than a dozen reports of cougar sightings in Prince Rupert.

Gareth Scrivner, a North Coast zone conservation officer, confirmed the Terrace Conservation Office has received 13 reports of cougar sightings since April, with the most recent taking place at the end of June.

“We had three in the month of April, four in May and six in June,” he said.

Scrivner said many of the reported sightings happened around 8th Avenue West, near the ferry terminal on Park Avenue and on the highway between Prince Rupert and Terrace.

“[The sightings] have been in the middle of the night in wooded areas. Some were around town but it’s normal they would pass through at some point,” he said.

While there have been many calls from individuals who caught a glimpse of the wild animals, Scrivner said none of the reports surrounded cougars acting with aggressive behaviour toward humans or their pets.

“Wolves and bears are quite generalized in terms of what they’re willing to eat, whereas cougars are generally very specific and are tied into deer numbers,” Scrivner said.

“We’d certainly tell people to keep their pets, specifically small dogs and cats, inside if they’re concerned.”

Scrivner said if people spot a cougar they should use caution and give the animal lots of space.

“If they’re at a safe distance they can watch it... It’s an incredible experience to see some of the wildlife we have in the area. But use caution and common sense, certainly don’t close in on the animal,” he said.

The Terrace Conservation Office is requesting anyone who spots a cougar to notify the B.C. Conservation Officer Service reporting line at 1-877-952-7277.

“[The Conservation Office] would be interested in hearing of people’s sightings so we can monitor exactly where they are, what time of day it is, escape routes and those kinds of things,” Scrivner said.

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