Cougar sighting in Westsyde
A cougar sighting in Westsyde has conservation officers cautioning residents to
keep an eye on their children and their pet cats.
The cougar was spotted outside the home of Clinton and Dawna Schadlich
in the 90- block of Pine Springs Road on Thursday, June 28, at about 9 p.m.
The Schadliches were having a year-end barbecue in their backyard with the kids and parents of their two daughters’ pee wee softball team. About 20 people were at the barbecue.
Ten of the teammates were jumping and playing on a trampoline when one of
the parents spotted the cat. It was watching the girls from the bushes, about 10
to 15 feet away, according to Clinton Schadlich.
Conservation officer Steve Wasylik responded to the call and said the parents got
the kids away from the trampoline. The cougar lingered in the area and was last
seen heading up into the hills behind the house.
Schadlich said he snapped some photos of the cat, which looked at him and
casually walked away.
“And, then he came back about 20 minutes later and we had a really good view
of him on the ridge, and he was just looking, not scared of people at all,” said
He said Wasylik was on the scene by about 9:30 p.m. and checked out the
area, but it was dark and the cougar was nowhere to be seen.
The cat hung around for about an hour, said Schadlich, and became a conversation piece of the party.
“We’ve lived here for 13 years and I’m an outdoor enthusiast and I’ve never
seen a cougar out in the wild like that,” said Schadlich.
Wasylik said it was a bit unusual to see a cougar in that area of Westsyde, but
noted they have fairly large home ranges, so it's possible it was just passing through.
Wasylik said it appeared to be a mature cougar, judging from the pictures that
were taken of it.
Wasylik said people should be aware of its presence.
"People need to know it's out there," Wasylik said, noting the greatest danger
is most likely to small pets, such as house cats, which cougars are efficient at
harvesting if they are left out overnight.
"Keep your pets in, watch your kids for a little while and, if you see it, to give us
a call. We'd like to hear about it," he said.
He said cougars generally shouldn’t pose a major threat to humans, though it
can vary between encounters.
"Each encounter can be different," Wasylik said. "This one worked out well. The next one, if it's cornered, people have pets, that sort of stuff, it could be
different, but every encounter is different."
If confronted by a cougar, people should make themselves as big and as loud as
Call 1-877-952-7277 if you come across a wild animal posing a threat.