Be careful out there

Recent wildlife encounters serve as a reminder to take care out of doors.

In light of the recent attack of a Port McNeill couple by a cougar — and with another cougar known to be lurking around town — it seems a good time for a reminder that we should all remain vigilant for wildlife when we’re out among it.

This is not to say live in a state of fear or shut yourself indoors — we don’t live on the North Island because we want to close it out.

RCMP corporal Carl McIntosh, one of the victims of last week’s attack, believes in changing our environment — such as with timber clear-cuts close to town — we are opening the door to new forms of wildlife.

Even before last week’s cougar encounter, he said he had seen black bear and wolves near his Mine Road home. And a few days after the attack, he was visited by a bull elk.

Last year, 81-year-old Jessie Roland of Port Hardy had to shoo off a bear that wandered into her house.

Every time we step out our doors, however, we’re in these animals’ homes.

If you meet a cougar that seems to view you as occupying its pantry, your first priority is to make it clear you are not prey.

Make yourself as big as possible. If in a group, clump together and raise your arms. Always face the cat and make loud, threatening noises.

With luck, it will choose to retire to the den.