Three mountain lions euthanized in tri-cities area after reports of unusual behaviour and pet attacks
By Jessica Berget, Assistant Editor
As mountain lions become more comfortable around humans and residential areas during the day (like schools, homes, and yards), it becomes a matter of an extreme public safety risk.
Cougars, mountain lions, pumas—whatever you want to call them, they’re terrifying to encounter and have been sighted multiple times in BC’s tri-cities.
This month, BC conservation officers captured and euthanized three mountain lions that were believed responsible for aggressive behaviour and attacks on pets in the tri-cities area. The killing of these cougars may come as a sad shock to many animal lovers, but as mountain lions become more comfortable around humans and residential areas during the day (like schools, homes, and yards), it becomes a matter of extreme public safety risk.
According to the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, when cougars become less afraid of humans, they begin hunting non-natural prey and are comfortable walking around urban residential areas which poses a serious risk to both the people living in that area and their pets. In fact, in Port Moody, Amore, and Belcarra where there have been 82 cougar sighting reports since April 1, 2020, three dogs have died from attacks and two others were left injured since Aug 21. As a result, people living in the sighting areas have begun outfitting their small dogs in spiky vests to ward off any potential attacks.
Pumas can run up to 70 km per hour, they can swim, and are the biggest felines in the province (followed by lynx and bobcats), so you really don’t want to come face to face with one. With BC’s numerous hiking trails and mountains, it’s better to be prepared in case you do encounter one (though it is rare). Comedian Bill Burr jokes about if he ever encountered a mountain lion, he would open up his neck to let it kill him as fast as possible and get it over with. While that may be a hilarious visual, there are some useful tips for avoiding being mauled by a giant cat courtesy of the BC government.
The BC government cougar guide emphasizes maintaining eye contact with the cougar and remaining calm—if there are any children or pets with you, keep them close or pick them up as the lion may see it as an easy target or the noises they make could provoke an attack. Back away slowly to give it an easy way to escape, but never run or turn your back to it as this makes it easier for them to attack. If that doesn’t work and they end up following you or becoming more aggressive, make yourself look as large as possible, make loud noises, show your teeth, and grab whatever you can as a weapon should you need to fight back. This will let them know that you are not prey and a threat to them. Should none of these work—you may have to rumble with a mountain lion. Just make sure to fight back hard and go for its eyes and face. If all else fails, take the Bill Burr approach.