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Let’s Talk Cougars (and Deer) in Nanoose Bay, B.C.

Photo by Tony Ransom, May'15

July 7, 2015 Summary of Ross Peterson  & Conservation Officer Stuart Bates Presentations 

 How to Prevent Cougar Encounters

  • Avoid hiking/walking at night
  • Hike/walk with a partner
  • DO NOT feed deer and racoons
  • Keep dogs on leash
  • Secure pets and livestock
  • Keep small children close

Rockhaven_Cougar_3_May 10_2015

 May 10’15 Photo T. Ransom
Wildlife Cam on Rockhampton Cougar Sighting June 20, 2015 at 6:54am (Date in photo incorrect)


 What to do if you encounter a cougar?

  • Do not run, do not scream!
  • Make yourself look big
  • Pick up small children
  • Stare cougar in the eyes, do not break eye contact
  • Yell at the cougar “Hey cougar! Hey cougar!”
  • Back up slowly, shuffling feet
  • In case of attack, fight back and be aggressive
  • Bear spray works on cougars too.
  • Use a hand held air horn
  • Do NOT try to save a pet being attacked.
  • Added by Barb: Play a radio in backyard to deter a cougar (or bear) fr entering, especially when young children playing.

Why must problem cougars be euthanized?

  • Cougars hunting during day = human risk

–      Will defend their kills

  • Habituated cougars = major human risk

–      Show no fear of humans

  • Small children playing can be seen as easy targets

–      Look like prey

  • Relocation not possible

–      Inhumane: very stressful for animals

–      Highly territorial animals + high density of cougars = no safe place to relocate

–      Cougars are smart: do not forget what they have learned

Note:  CO Bates explained after session that when an animal is killed they ask the local FN’s if they would like the meat and use of the animal for ceremonial purposes.

     Criteria COS consider:

–     Behaviour: aggressive, threatening, predatory towards people, pets, and/or livestock

–     Actions: attacking people, pets, or livestock

–     Demonstrates a lack of fear of people.

–     Human Safety: high risk of attack?

Cougar Sighting Ainsley Pl June 30 5:45 & 8:30am

Why Cougars are in Nanoose Bay

  • Natural wildlife habitat
  • Natural wildlife habitat
  • Englishman River = wildlife highway
  • Deer and racoons = food
  • Fawns easy prey

Cougars in Nanoose Bay

Year Calls to COS Central Island Zone Cougar Calls in Nanoose Bear Calls in Nanoose Problem Cougars Killed on Vancouver Island
2015 531 27 3 15
2014/15 1477 26 17 30
2013/14 1612 19 13 50
2012/13 1268 30 16 16

Prey ,such as deer, are the main reason for a healthy population of cougars”   Much of the discussion focused on the healthy, abundant deer population within Nanoose Bay.

The information below was taken from BC Urban Ungulates Conflict Analysis:

Conflick Reduction Options

Comparison of cost and efficiency

Options for Deer Control

Summary of Population Reduction and Fertility Control Options

Summer of Pop Reduction page 2

Table of Deer Attacks


Reference: BC Urban Ungulates Conflict Analysis:

Additional Attachment from COS:


This fact sheet gives an overview of the increasingly common issue of deer in poor health during the late winter and early spring in and around coastal British Columbia.  Some of the information can also be applied to many wild animals during extreme and persistent inclement weather conditions. The south coast of British Columbia has one species of native deer, the coastal black‐tailed deer.  The population density of deer varies significantly throughout its range on Vancouver Island and the coastal mainland.  They are at moderate to high density on some islands and increasing in some semi‐rural, suburban and even urban areas on Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley.  In these areas, deer now inhabit a new type of habitat for the species, sharing fields with domestic livestock and using cultivated landscapes such as golf courses, gardens and shrubs for feeding, in some cases on a year round basis.   The lack of natural predators and milder winter conditions in rural and suburban areas also supports increased numbers of deer living near humans. Every year Ministry of Environment staff and the concerned public report a variable number of deer, particularly the young of the previous year, showing one or several signs that can indicate poor health.   These include: • Loss of fear of humans • Weakness and presence near homes, on porches, in outbuildings • Poor to extremely thin body condition • Poor hair coats – from small areas of hairloss to almost completely bald • Digestive tract upsets – especially diarrhea, seen as green soft to liquid feces on the ground or coating the tail area • Death with no apparent warning, especially after a period of supplemental feeding Surprisingly, there is no evidence that these deer suffer from infectious diseases, but there is indication that the poor health is associated with high deer density and seasonal nutritional issues.

Please do care for these animals by reporting their condition to the Ministry of Environment – we are interested in tracking wildlife health and sampling specific animals.  But please do not add to the problem by providing supplemental feed to deer at any time of year – you may be “killing them with kindness”.  Help us keep BC wild animals wild and healthy.

Dr. Helen Schwantje Wildlife Veterinarian Wildlife Health Program                April 2009

Special Thanks to Guest Speakers, Ross Peterson and CO Stuart Bates and to all 140 residents of Nanoose Bay for attending and contributing to North Island Wildlife Recovery Fund ($672 raised).  Also without the sponsorship of Fairwinds Community Association this event would not have been possible..THANK YOU FCA -Crystal and executive members!

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