Photo by Nicole Shanks

Woman captures up-close photos of cougar roaming Port Alberni neighbourhood

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The B.C. Conservation Service is monitoring a cougar after one Port Alberni resident documented the cat roaming through a residential neighbourhood.

On Monday, Nicole Shanks posted photos of the cougar outside her in-laws’ home to Facebook. In one of the photos the cougar is creeping along the walkway that runs next to their home. In another, it’s bounding across the backyard.

“Came right up to the living room window!” she wrote alongside the images. Her post has been shared more than a thousand times, with lots of worried comments from residents living near Bruce Street and 8th Avenue South.

Photo by Nicole Shanks

Many expressed concerns about their children hanging out in the neighbourhood, while others had already encountered the cougar for themselves.

“This guy came up to my porch last night and tried playing with my babies [through] the sliding glass door around 4 a.m. on 3rd and Bruce,” Shayla Brophy-Sampson wrote.

Photo by Nicole Shanks

Although their concerns are warranted—Vancouver Island has one of the highest rates of cougar attacks in North America—conservation officer Steve Ackles says there’s not much authorities can do about it.

Ackles has received multiple complaints about the cougar, but he told CBC that “it’s not displayed any threatening behaviour…and all the sightings have been in a wildlife corridor near a forested area.”

He does, however, encourage residents to report any cougar sightings, as they will continue to monitor the animal’s behaviour.

The province has also posted guidelines for what to do if you encounter a cougar. The main thing, Ackles says, is to never turn your back and run, and always keep your pets on a leash.

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