Hikers in Squamish are reporting unusual and violent confrontations with bobcats around Alice Lake Provincial Park, according to WildSafeBC, a program run by the British Columbia Conservation Foundation.
"It's definitely the first time we've heard of numerous encounters of bobcats going for dogs," said coordinator Meg Toom, in an interview with CBC Radio's Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.
Toom said in the nine years she's worked in Squamish, bobcat attacks have never been an issue and that typically they eat small rodents and rabbits.
Bobcat wrestled dog
Marie Grindlay and her two dogs, Shasta and Freyja, had a run-in with a bobcat early last week. The trio were hiking a trail through Alice Lake when a bobcat the size of Grindlay's 30-kilogram Freyja pounced on the dog.
"They wrestled for a second, and of course I start yelling," said Grindlay. Her other dog, Shasta, temporarily scared the bobcat off into the forest with her growls.
But the ordeal did not end there.
"It came after her again and then they really tangled the second time," said Grindlay, adding Shasta intimidated the bobcat by growling and shaking a stick she held in her mouth.
"She started growling this noise that I've never heard before," said Grindlay.
After the bobcat turned tail and retreated into the forest, Grindlay and her two dogs hurried 100 metres down the trail.
Grindlay said she's thankful no one got hurt, but other hikers in the area haven't been so lucky.
More attacks reported
Reports have been coming in to conservation officers of other violent bobcat encounters, and some dogs have even been left with stitches.
"It's looking like a territorial situation" said Toom.
"We have more people coming into the area, more dogs off leash, and as you put more and more people into the trails network you're going to have more encounters."
Conservation officers have posted signs in the park and have been warning hikers to beware of the animals.
It remains unclear if the attacks are being carried out by a single or multiple bobcats.
Toom is hosting an information session on how to minimize dangerous wildlife-human encounters on Wednesday evening at the Squamish Adventure Centre, 38551 Loggers Lane.
The event will also cover safety education and begins at 7 p.m P.T.