Cougar bites woman, attacks dog in Strathcona Park: BCCOS

Cougar bites woman, attacks dog in Strathcona Park: BCCOS
Cougar file photo.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) says a cougar bit a woman and attacked a dog in Vancouver Island’s Strathcona Provincial Park over the weekend.

Two women were hiking with off-leash dogs near Landslide Lake, a remote part of the park, on Saturday when a cougar bit one of the women and attacked one of the dogs, according to a COS spokesperson in an email to CHEK News.

They say the hikers were able to use bear spray, which caused the cougar to run away. The duo, along with the dogs, were transported out of the area via helicopter.

The woman who was bit received medical attention in hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, while the dog is expected to recover.

“The COS investigation determined this was a defensive attack, and no further action will be taken,” the spokesperson said.

“BC Parks had posted signage of cougar sightings/activity prior to the attack.”

Rugby Canada’s Olivia Apps injured

Rugby Canada confirms to CHEK News the woman bit was Olivia Apps, a rugby player gearing up for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

“She was treated in hospital shortly after for a minor injury and was able to return to training with the national team immediately following the incident,” a spokesperson said.

“She is very appreciative of the conservation officers, local medical services, and the hikers who supported her and (her) partner.”

Apps captained the Canadian Women 7s in the Starlight Stadium tournament in Langford on Aug. 23, 2023, when the team qualified for the summer games, which get underway this July.

Despite the cougar incident, Rugby Canada says Apps’ focus remains on preparing for the upcoming event.

Elk River Trail closed

The B.C. government, which describes Strathcona Park as “a rugged mountain wilderness,” has cougar safety tips on its website.

“Cougar attacks are very rare, but if you encounter a cougar, keep calm and never run. Make yourself look as large as possible and back away slowly, keeping the cougar in view, and allowing a clear exit for the cougar,” says WildSafe BC, an organization that looks to reduce human-wildlife conflict.

“If attacked, always fight back and never ‘play dead.'”

BC Parks has since closed the Elk River Trail, which leads to Landslide Lake. Crews also added additional signage, and people can check the Strathcona Park website for further updates.

Report cougar conflict by calling the COS at 1-877-952-7277.

READ ALSO: ‘We are scared’: Nanoose Bay farmers plead for help as cougar preys on their sheep

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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