Belinda Lucoe was at home with her family on their rural property near Elk Lake in Saanich on Tuesday afternoon when her daughter looked outside and noticed their Siberian husky Mika, 3, hiding behind a nearby car.
“She noticed [Mika] was really scared, trying to peak around the car, backing up, so we started walking towards the hall and looked out the front window and noticed just an absolutely huge cat just sitting right in front of her then slowly approaching of her, âsaid Belinda son Jarrod Lucoe.
Jarrod grabbed his phone and videotaped the next amazing moments.
âHonestly, I was extremely scared for her and my father’s fight-or-flight action just took effect,â he said. “I’ve never heard him scream like that in my life, he sounds a bit like Scooby-Doo.”
Many who saw the video credited young Mika for her recall abilities. Its owners say that was probably only part of what was at stake.
“I think she reacted all of a sudden as she got closer, we were all screaming and she probably felt our fear and then probably got a fear too, that’s what I think,” Belinda said. .
Conservation Officer Peter Pauwels says in the video that the cougar’s actions appear to be intimidated rather than about to attack. He says encounters like this are actually more common than you might think, it’s just rare that they get filmed. And he says the dog’s owners did everything right.
Although they’ve lived on the wooded property for 20 years, the Lucoes say it’s the first time they’ve seen a cougar. They called Saanich Police and sent the video to them to make sure everyone in the area, which includes the popular Bear Hill and Elk Lake trails, was aware.
“We share the environment with large animals such as cougars and bears, so residents should take into consideration that encounters with these animals are very likely,” a statement from Saanich police read.
Cougar encounter near Bear Hill earlier this afternoon. A good reminder if you live in the countryside of Saanich to be vigilant and watch your pets outside. This Husky has a great booster! #Saanich pic.twitter.com/9koucxrxpl
– Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) 22 December 2021
Saanich Police are once again advising residents to be aware of their surroundings, especially in rural areas, following the recent encounter with a cougar.
Police also recommend that owners keep an eye on their pets when they are outside or keep them on a leash when possible.
Residents are advised to limit all outdoor food sources such as garbage and compost, which can attract large animals.
If residents of Saanich encounter a cougar in an urban area, it is recommended that they call the BC Conservation Officer Service.