Living with Wildlife

Since the many years I had lived by myself with my horses in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, surrounded by wildlife (grizzly, black bear, wolf and cougar) on my own land, I do not get nervous hearing in the local news: “another cougar sighting”. Puma concolor, Mountain Lion, Puma, Panther. Known by many names with a far ranging habitat, from Northern BC down the Western United States, all through Mexico, down to Argentina and most of South America.
We are here on Vancouver Island. With a healthy population of these large predators. [ http://www.geog.uvic.ca/viwilds/iw-cougar.html ]. Reason being, that it is assumed that the mountain lion cannot swim, being that this is a big island. Not so, just watched a YouTube video showing a large cougar swimming to shore. But generally the waters surrounding Vancouver Island are pretty much impossible to swim in, even dangerous for any boats.
Recently there have been multiple cougar sightings in our city. The cougar is special in the sense that this big cat has survived for so many years quite nicely among the human population and urban surroundings, and unlike the other members of the big cat family is not threatened and even thrives. While the cougar is not particularly interested in attacking humans, unless pushed or cornered or sensing opportunity for a hunt, still the danger is there and present. In danger are any prey animals in flights, such as horses, deer of course, and also small pets. If a child would be attacked, that would be rare. These animals are very elusive and secretive, one of the reasons for them surviving here quite well. I myself am cycling a lot outside the city limits. How an encounter with a sch a fairly large cat would turn out were I on my bicycle, that I cannot say. Being on a bycicle one is also moving, thereby triggering the attack response of a cougar. One thing is certain, I love those animals as much as I love our Orca (Killer Whales) and all west shore wildlife, and I would consider it a priviledge to see one in the wild and be able to take a photo.

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