BC cougar encounter caught on camera in Campbell River

A Vancouver Island man captured video of a rare cougar encounter near the Campbell River, BC, on Tuesday.

Mike Anderson, 38, was walking his dog in the Beaver Lodge Lands, a network of forest trails southwest of the city, at about 6:30 a.m.

Anderson said he walks Sage, his German-language mouse pointer, through the trails twice a day. But Tuesday was the first time he saw a big cat in that area.

Anderson told CTV News: “It was just planted on the log, trying to blend in. “I’ve passed that log so many times and I just caught my eye that something was different.”

In the short video of the encounter captured on Anderson’s cell phone, the cougar is perched on a log, looking directly at the man and his dog, seemingly ready to pounce.

“I just stepped back,” Anderson said. “It just stayed on the log until I couldn’t see it anymore.”

Anderson, a photographer with a hobby of photographing wildlife, said Sage didn’t even seem to notice the cat. “She just looked at me funny because I was talking loudly,” he said.

The Campbell River man said he would not have been arrested without proper cameras in the area again.

“It’s one of my regrets,” he said of the encounter. “It was a fun experience and I’m glad it happened. They’re there all the time, it’s just a matter of whether we meet them or not.”

While Vancouver Island is home to one of the largest cougar populations in the world, attacks on people are extremely rare.

The province urges anyone who encounters a cougar to shrink as much as possible and back away slowly, keeping the cougar in front of you and making sure the animal has a clear exit.

Turning away from a cougar and running away could trigger an attack, according to BC government guidelines to avoid being attacked by a cougar.

“If a cougar shows interest or stalks you, respond aggressively, maintain eye contact with the cougar, bar your teeth and make loud noises,” the province said. “If the cougar attacks, fight back, convincing the cougar that you are the threat, not the prey.”

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