A cougar was spotted in an east Vernon neighbourhood Thursday, Feb. 28. (Jan Gardner photo)

Coyotes, cougars spotted around Vernon

Conservation officer: “We ask that people take it upon themselves to secure their pets and their livestock so that we can minimize the conflict with these animals.”

Vernon Facebook Forum is, once again, abuzz about recent coyote sightings around the city.

“Just a heads up to anyone who lives by the hospital/army barracks of a very curious coyote, he has been spotted on our camera multiple times. I was told it was mating season for them so they may be more aggressive. Please keep your fur babies inside. (he comes anytime between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m.),” wrote Kaitlyn Patitucci to the Vernon & Area Community Forum Facebook page Wednesday.

Several people responded with videos, warnings of their own experiences with coyotes around Vernon recently and posts encouraging people to take care of their pets.

Video footage from resident who lives on hospital hill (submitted by Mike Patitucci)

In a message to The Morning Star, Mike Wylie said a cougar has also been spotted Thursday morning in the Pheasant Road and Galiano Road area.

“With one cat already missing in the neighbourhood, it may be hunting east Vernon at night,” Wylie said. “Conservation has been notified.

In an interview for a recent Morning Star story, Vernon Conservation officer Micah Kneller said that this isn’t particularly out of the ordinary.

“It’s normal to have coyotes and cougars around Vernon, Lumby, Armstrong — the Okanagan in general because that’s where they live,” he said. “In regards to coyotes, they’re a little more active during the winter because around this time they go into this mating pattern, which can make them a little more territorial, especially in regards to people’s dogs and they tend to also be a bit more vocal.”

Kneller said that while this is common, he wants to remind people to keep small children and animals safe.

“We recommend that pets aren’t left out overnight and from dawn to dusk and that sort of time, they should be on a leash or inside. Coyotes only really become dangerous when they become conditioned by people. Pretty much every time we have a problem or an incident with a coyote, we can almost always relate it back to somebody feeding it or it’s getting into people’s unsecured livestock. We ask that people take it upon themselves to secure their pets and their livestock so that we can minimize the conflict with these animals.”

Kneller encouraged people to report any offense or a problem with wildlife by phoning the 24-hour Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

Related: Several cougar and coyote sightings around Vernon, Conservation Officer responds

Related: Cougar caught on camera near Vernon school

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