Jogger uses rock to battle cougar in Vancouver Island attack
The cougar followed the jogger then 'attacked him,' said conservation official
A Vancouver-area man used a rock to battle a cougar during a recent attack on a remote logging road on Vancouver Island.
The attack has prompted British Columbia's Conservation Officer Service to remind residents to report wild cat encounters to the province's 24-hour hotline to help them keep track of cougars as they enter populated areas.
The man, who was not named, was treated for bite and claw wounds and released from hospital in Port Hardy, on northeastern Vancouver Island.
He was staying with friends in a cabin in a remote area when the attack occurred on the long weekend earlier this month, said Acting Insp. Ben York of the Conservation Officer Service.
"He was just out for a jog in the morning along the logging road and encountered a cougar that followed him for a short period of time and then attacked him," said York.
"It was a smaller animal, around 100 pounds, and he's a big guy and he was able to fight it off with his hands and a rock he picked up."
Sightings on the rise
But the man didn't report the attack to conservation services for at least a day and by the time officers and a tracking dog arrived in the area, it had rained and the cougar's scent was gone, he said.
York said it appeared the cougar was a younger animal, judging by its reported size and behaviour.
He said during the summer months when more people are outdoors cougar sightings increase.
There are estimates of as many as 800 cougars on Vancouver Island.
York said there appears to be an increase of Vancouver Island cougar sightings being posted on social media. The 24-hour cougar hotline, 1-877-952-7277, allows officers to monitor and track cougar activities.
Big cats will not be shot, unless aggressive
A call to the hotline does not immediately mean conservation service officers will descend on the area with the intent to shoot the animal, York said.
"It really does depend on behaviour," he said.
"We're not going to take out every cat that shows up and that's seen by a human being."
Last October, a full-grown cougar that ran wild through Victoria's James Bay neighbourhood near the B.C. legislature was tranquilized and tagged after an epic chase that had dogs howling and neighbours peering from their windows.
A tagged cougar was recently spotted in the Sooke area west of Victoria, but it's too early to determine if it was the same animal that was caught last fall near the legislature, York said.
Earlier this week, a cougar was spotted in the Penticton area, prompting officials to issue a warning.