Cougar sighting determined to be cat

Conservation officers have reviewed tracks near elementary school

There was a feline near a Vernon school but not a wild animal.

There were reports of a cougar near Mission Hill Elementary Thursday but based on tracks, authorities believe what was seen was a large house cat.

“Fifty per cent of cougar complaints are not actually cougar,” said Brent Smith, conservation officer.

It can be challenging to correctly identify a species based on the distance between the animal and the person and other factors like trees and sunlight.

“It’s pretty easy to mistake something that’s not a cougar to be a cougar,” said Smith.

Once reports were received Thursday, Mission  Hill Elementary administration took action.

No children were allowed outside and parents were asked to pick up students who walk home.

Also on Thursday, conservation officers tracked and destroyed a cougar near Falkland after it killed a dog.

“It definitely posed a threat to other pets and livestock,” said Smith.