A cougar attack near Roberts Creek has left one woman with only minor injuries after a claw struck her leg.
The BC Conservation Officer Service says the woman was able to fight off the cougar until help arrived after she was stalked before being dismounted from her bike.
Sergeant Dean Miller says while there is a strong presence of cougars in the area, they typically like to remain hidden.
“Cougars are probably one of our most evasive wildlife species in British Columbia,” Miller says. “The last attack, in the sunshine coast, was approximately six years ago but it is very rare for a cat to make contact with humans.”
Miller says educating the public on the dangers associated with hiking and the types of wildlife outdoor enthusiasts could encounter goes a long way in preventing incidents like this from occurring.
“Our first process is always to inform the public of a potential risk related to dangerous predatory animals in the area,” he says. “From there we sweep the area and employ some techniques to capture the animal and if needed we would close the area.”
According to Miller tracking cougars, and removing them, is extremely difficult when compared to other wildlife in the area because they can travel greater distances in a short amount of time.
“We know cougars can range up to 10 to 20 kilometers in a day if there is nothing to keep them in a specific area,” he says. “Unlike a bear who can stay in a specified area, this cat could be quite far away.”
The BC Conservation Officers Service is currently asking everyone to avoid the area for two weeks to avoid any further encounters.