An “emancipated” cougar walked right into a Sunningdale neighbourhood home on Saturday evening and attacked a woman while she was sitting on her living room sofa.
A very old female cougar that was too weak from starvation to hunt in the normal fashion tried to find a quick meal at the Glen Drive residence on the edge of the neighbourhood.
“This is an extremely rare occurrence and was driven by the animal’s desperation for food,” said Trail RCMP Sgt. Rob Hawton in a press release.
Earlier this month the president of the Trail Wildlife Association (TWA), Terry Hanik, raised the alarm of a rise in predators in the region.
Hanik said cougars and wolves were pushing into the area, adding their numbers to the plethora of coyotes already plaguing the backcountry and eroding the deer population.
Former TWA president Rick Fillmore felt the network of power lines, logging roads and pipeline right-of-ways crisscrossing B.C. contributed to a corridor that allowed predators to be very mobile in their pursuit of prey—and it explained how so many predators have made it into the Greater Trail region.
Those corridors have led the predators into more settled areas where the deer have been thriving for years, he said.
With dwindling deer populations, however, the predators are looking further a field. On Saturday around 8:30 p.m. that field was in Sunningdale.
“The woman was in her house with a number of puppies when the cougar walked in through an open door and attacked her on the sofa,” said Hawton.
With the help of her dog the woman fought the cougar off and subsequently chased it out of the house.
As a result, the woman received a couple of minor injuries to her upper leg from the cougar’s claws.
Hawton said the cougar was gone upon the arrival of police and a subsequent search was not successful.
B.C. Conservation officers were called in and eventually tracked down and destroyed the cougar Monday morning.
After being contacted Monday for details on the attack and the predator situation in the area conservation officers did not reply.