Two cougar attacks on dogs in Port Hardy have been officially reported to the Conservation Officer Service (COS).
Both attacks happened on Dec. 30 within hours of each other, and one of the dogs was fatally wounded.
“The information that we know now is that there was a dog attacked by a cougar on the 30th,” said Gordon Gudbranson Conservation Officer for the North Island Zone. “That dog was located by the owners on site and it was deceased,” he added.
Laura Heather Burns posted to the Facebook Group North Island Wildlife Awareness, to notify people of the attack.
“The Conservation Officer is sat our house on Market Street right now. He is taking pictures of our dog’s body and gathering as much evidence as possible,” said Burns in the post.
“They are expecting the cougar to come back here tonight to try and retrieve Duncan’s body so they are setting up a trap and will be here most of the night checking the trap and patrolling the area,” she wrote, also noting that her dog Duncan was 70 lbs.
“We had an officer attend and he had set a trap to try and capture the cougar overnight with trail cameras and the cougar did not return,” said Gudbranson, adding “We are requesting any further sighting are reported to the RAPP line (Report All Poachers and Polluters).”
Gudbranson also confirmed there was another dog attacked near Scotia Bay Resort prior to the attack on Market Street.
“It happened the same evening it was about an hour and a half before this incident,” said Gudbranson, adding that “We don’t know if the two are related or if it’s a different animal or the same animal at this time.”
RELATED: Conservation tracks cougar sighted in Port Hardy
These attacks come after a cougar sighting on Mayor’s Way on Dec. 21 where a caller reported a cougar trying to attack his dogs through his sliding glass patio door.
Gudbranson said conservation received another reported sighting of a cougar on Beaver Harbour Road in the early morning hours of Dec. 31.
When asked why these attacks have been occurring, Gudbranson responded stating that “Typically cougars are hunting for deer, but they will also hunt raccoons and beavers in the rivers, creeks, and greenbelt areas and sometimes when they are moving around these areas they will see another animal and that is what happens in these cases.”
Two additional cougar sightings were also reported to COS in Port Hardy on Jan. 2.
“COS received two additional sightings in Port Hardy one near Rupert Rd. and Glen Lyon Rd. and the other sightings was in the Highview Rd. area,” said Gudbranson, adding “In both instances when the cougar was approached by a person the cougar departed the area.”
COS is recommending people keep their pets indoors especially during dusk and dawn when cougars are most active. “If people do let their pets outside make sure you have lights on … if you are going to be out walking trails we recommend that you keep your pets on a leash,” said Gudbranson.
He confirmed conservation officers will be in Port Hardy to verify the information received on Jan. 2 and will be making patrols to monitor future cougar activity and wait for any updates from the public.
“We are letting people know this has happened and we hope that people can be extra diligent in monitoring their pets and children and if there are any other future sightings to let us know and phone the RAPP number,” he said.
To report a sighting or incident to the RAPP line call Call 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or #7277 on the TELUS Mobility Network.
BC’s Conservation Service’s Cougar Guidelines:
Stay calm and keep the cougar in view, pick up children immediately. Children frighten easily and the noise and movements they make could provoke an attack. Back away slowly, ensuring that the animal has a clear avenue of escape
Make yourself look as large as possible and keep the cougar in front of you at all times. Never run or turn your back on a cougar, sudden movement may provoke an attack
If a cougar shows interest or follows you, respond aggressively, maintain eye contact with the cougar, show your teeth and make loud noise. Arm yourself with rocks or sticks as weapons
If a cougar attacks, fight back, convince the cougar you are a threat and not prey, use anything you can as a weapon. Focus your attack on the cougar’s face and eyes. Use rocks, sticks, bear spray or personal belongings as weapons. You are trying to convince the cougar that you are a threat, and are not prey.
Roaming pets are easy prey for cougars, keep them leashed or behind a fence. Bring your pet in at night. If the pet must be left out at night confine it to a kennel with a secure top.
Don’t feed pets outside. The pet food might attract young cougars or small animals such as squirrels or raccoons which cougars prey upon. Place domestic livestock in an enclosed shed or barn at night.