'It just started following me': Officers shoot one cougar, track another after Port Coquitlam teen followed
PORT COQUITLAM, B.C. -- Fourteen-year-old Connor Seabrook was walking on Cedar Drive in Port Coquitlam Tuesday night, when he saw something he first thought was a dog.
“I heard like a weird growl,” he said. “Then I saw a huge tail poking up.”
Seabrook realized the animal was a cougar, and slowly began backing away. He said the cougar followed him.
“I was just trying to figure out the fastest way to the corner store safely without running,” he said. “So I didn’t trigger it to chase me even more.”
Once Seabrook made it inside the store and called his father, he saw the cougar cross the street towards a local trail area.
That’s where someone later captured images of the animal on cell phone video, and called 911.
Acting Sgt. Alicia Stark, of the BC Conservation Officer Service, said the service received a report just after 9 p.m.
“We arrived on scene with our hound team and immediately discovered a juvenile cougar in the area, and that cougar was euthanized,” she said.
Neighbours told CTV News Vancouver they heard gunshots around midnight.
Conservation officers are still tracking the mother of the young male cougar that was shot. They believe the family is linked to recent attacks on dogs in Coquitlam, and that there are more cougars out there.
“We do see increased call volumes this time of year, but this bold behaviour is not normal,” Stark said.
The behaviour includes an attack on a three-year-old Havenese dog in the yard of a Coquitlam home last Tuesday. The pet, named Lucy, was rescued by her owner, who followed the cougar and scared it off. Lucy is still recovering from her injures, and underwent surgery.
Just days later, another family pet was killed by a cougar when the animal jumped a fence into a yard where the owner was with the puppy.
Seabrook said he knew what to do from information online and at school.
“If you see one, try to be loud and back up slowly and try and look big, so that it gets intimidated,” he said. “I think it sucks they have to kill them, but if they’re being aggressive, then it has to happen.”
The conservation officer service is unsure what’s causing the increased cougar activity this year. It’s asking people to report sightings as soon as possible, by calling 1-877-952-7277.
People are being advised to take precautions, including keeping pets on leashes and staying aware of their surroundings.
This article initially stated that the person who had been stalked was a child, based on information from BCCOS. Conservation officials have since said the individual was 14, and the copy has been updated to reflect that they are a teenager.