Vancouver couple film their face-to-face encounter with a cougar near Tofino

WatchIt's not every day that you have a wildlife encounter like the one experienced by a Vancouver couple earlier this week. They were visiting Hot Spring Cove, a remote area north-west of Tofino when they came face-to-face with a cougar. Mary Griffin reports.

At the start of a recent video showing a cougar encounter in Tofino, the group doesn’t sound too worried.

While watching a cougar from inside the cabin, Tara and Michael Antonakos, and their friend Shawn Shelongosky are just enjoying the view.  Antonakos said he filmed the whole encounter as he watched the big cat approach the deck.

“I just grabbed my camera the second I saw what it was,” Michael said.

The group was at the Hot Springs Cove, a remote area about 36 kilometres north-west of Tofino, on July 31.

And after about a minute, the situation changed.   The cougar suddenly charges towards the glass doors with the three inside wondering what will happen next.

Tara said they couldn’t believe it.

“He pounced a bit then we all jumped.”

Then as the encounter continued, they realized the big cat was getting a little too close.

“We were sitting on the couch just looking at him.  That’s why when you see me moving the camera at that moment, we all literally got up and moved to a different location,” Michael said.  He told his wife to run upstairs but he continued filming.

The group was worried the cougar might enter the cabin through a window on the second floor because of the sloping roofline.

Michael said his friend, Shawn Shelongosky, had lived in Hot Springs Cove for 27 years, and he had never seen a cougar in the area.

“In all my years, I have never in my life seen a cougar here,” Shelongosky said in agreement.

The cougar is seen moving alongside the house, but then stopping, staring at the house again.  Michael said he and the cougar locked eyes, neither moving for more than a minute.

Tara and Michael said earlier this week, a growling noise was heard nearby, possibly the cougar they saw. And for a first encounter, this is one they won’t soon forget.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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