A wildlife aficionado from Powell River says he was surprised to capture live-cam footage of five cougars moving through the forest on the outskirts of the city.
The video shows the quintet of cats, including “a mom and last year’s brood,” according to Wayne Obermeyer who sent the footage to CHEK News.
Most times, cougars are solitary animals that do not cooperate with others for survival purposes, explains WildSafeBC. A mother with her cubs is an exception, however Obermeyer’s still stunned by his video.
“I have a cam set up close to town and have had cougars, wolves and grizzly bears on it in the past,” he said. “Thought five cougars together would be quite interesting.”
The video was captured around 8:20 p.m. on July 17 near a logging road and shows one cat leading the pack as the others follow behind and some engage in playful behaviour.
“I have trail cameras set up so I can see what wildlife is around. I especially like seeing the predators,” said Obermeyer. “I’ve got video of wolves, lots of black bears of course, grizzly bears, bobcats, and this year is very active with cougars. Lots of elk and deer also.”
He says he enjoys watching wildlife so much, he set up a few trail cameras in the Powell River forest district to preserve his pastime.
“I hike into them every couple of weeks with my doggie. Keeps me active … been doing this for over 15 years and have never had a bad encounter with a predator,” he said. “You rarely see one in person, but they are there.”
The National Wildlife Federation, a conservation organization, says cougar cubs may stay with their mother for as long as 26 months but usually separate after about 15 months. The mother teaches her cubs how to hunt and survive on their own.
Obermeyer says he didn’t alert authorities to the July 17 sighting.
“It’s up a logging road in the Powell River forest district, not terribly far from town,” he added. “There is no reason to alert conservation as this is just wildlife doing what they do.”
While he says this camera is set up near the city, he won’t disclose the exact location, saying “it attracts people to the general area, which will discourage animal traffic.”
On its website the BC Conservation Officer Service has cougar safety guidelines, including staying calm and keeping the cat in view, picking up children immediately and backing away slowly. People should also make themselves look as large as possible and never turn their back on a cougar, among other tips found online here.
If a cougar poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety, call the COS at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).