School district warns parents after reported cougar sighting

By Chad Harris
February 3, 2016 - 3:28pm

KAMLOOPS — A reported cougar sighting prompted a warning for parents in Brocklehurst this afternoon.

District 73 Assistant Superintendent John Churchley says the sighting was reported near Parkcrest Elementary School around the end of the lunch hour.

Churchley says the conservation officer service was alerted immediately, and they have yet to confirm a big cat was actually in the area.

"They advised us that it would be a good idea to have children walk home in pairs. We decided to be cautious and let parents know that kids should get a ride home, and we had kids calling their parents," said Churchley adding "we also did the same thing with other schools in the Brocklehurst area."

Unless there are any more sightings, it will be classes as usual tomorrow morning Churchley told CFJC Today.

Meantime, a Kamloops conservation officer says last week's alarming cougar sighting on the Tk'emlups Reserve is the only confirmed big cat sighting in the Kamloops area so far this season.

But Rob Armstrong says that's not necessarily uncommon and adds it's likely that cat was forced out of its habitat.

"The biggest driving factor in that is more competition and opportunity than anything else. Cougars generally do quite well with natural prey species at anytime of the year. The territorial nature of cougars is probably more what drives the younger animals to more conflict with people," said Armstrong. 

The Conservation Service killed the cougar after it was spotted near a day care centre last Tuesday, January 26.

Armstrong also indicated because the animal was young and in poor shape, relocation was not a realistic option.

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