A cougar was caught on camera outside a residence near Okanagan Landing Elementary Tuesday, Feb. 26. (File Photo)

Cougar caught on camera near Vernon school

Samantha Becker has alerted the Conservation Office after cougar sighting outside her house

Samantha Becker woke up Wednesday, Feb. 27 to find surveillance footage of a cougar sleuthing around outside her Vernon house the night before.

The incident took place around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday evening. Becker, a mother of two, had just taken out the garbage and said she had been heading to bed around the time that the incident occurred.

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

Related: Cougar “living” next door to Vernon elementary school

Becker and her family live near Okanagan Landing Elementary School in Vernon. She told The Morning Star she lives on Brooks Lane, about 300 metres from the school.

“Cougar came for a visit last night. (6:44pm),” Becker wrote to the Vernon & Area Community Facebook Forum. “Yes, called in since I live so close to the school.”

This is just one of several cougar sightings in recent weeks. On Feb. 19, a cougar living near BX Elementary School was also reported to Conservation Officers. There have also been reports of cougars attacking animals near Marshall fields in Vernon as well as several reported sightings in Lumby and Coldstream.

When asked about cougar sightings for a recent story, Vernon Conservation officer Micah Kneller said that people need to take responsibility to ensure that their animals are safe and secure at night so that residents aren’t unknowingly contributing to the problem.

“It’s rare to see a cougar because they’re pretty shy, and they’re typically more active at night. The big thing is to make sure that these animals aren’t presented with an easy meal where people live. Cougars don’t really want to be by people, so the only time that they are by people is when they come to their yards to hunt and obviously we don’t want them to have that kind of behaviour,” he said. “People need to take responsibility for the fact that some of these animals look at their areas as a food source because the end result of a cat looking at people for food is that we end up having to put them down.”

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

Related: Dead deer indicates seasonal movement of predators

Related: Two kids injured in separate cougar attacks in B.C.

Related: B.C. woman finds cougar inside her house

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