This cougar was seen fleeing from a backyard in Timber Ridge on February 13

This cougar was seen fleeing from a backyard in Timber Ridge on February 13

Cougar sightings prompt caution

Two deer killed recently by cougars within urban areas in Invermere and Timber Ridge

Vigilance is being urged for valley residents after cougars have proven bold enough to take their prey within urban neighbourhoods.

On February 13 at 9:17 a.m., the Invermere Conservation Officer Service had a report of a cougar bedded down in the backyard of a residence in Timber Heights, a community located along the Copper Point Golf Course.

Upon arrival, conservation officers confirmed the cougar was still in the backyard, and were able to get a picture of it as it fled. Shortly after, a search of the area revealed a cougar had killed deer, fed heavily upon it and partially buried the carcass, which has since been removed.

Just two days later, on February 15 at 7:52 p.m., the Invermere Conservation Officer Service had another report of a cougar feeding on a deer carcass, this time in the 100 block of 12th Avenue in Invermere. The cougar had already left by the time a conservation officer responded. The deer carcass was removed to prevent further feeding in the area for public safety.

The Columbia Valley is cougar country, said conservation oficer Greg Kruger, who’s reminding the public to stay alert, as the current abundance of ungulates in the valley means more cougars may be expected to come into urban areas in pursuit of food.

The public is asked to bring pets in at night as roaming pets are easy prey for cougar, to keep children close at hand, and to report all cougar sightings through the provincial Report All Poachers  and Polluters (RAPP) number, 1-877-952-7277.

“We’re hoping the cats go away,” Kruger added.

The two recent sightings follow a January 17 observation, when conservation officers received a report of a cougar killing a bighorn sheep in the driveway of a motel along Highway 93 leading into Kootenay National Park.  In the interest of public safety, the carcass was promptly removed from the area.