On the advice of Conservation Officer Service The District of Squamish has temporarily closed a trail network in Squamish on Debeck's Hill after a run-in between a mountain biker and a cougar on Saturday.
According to conservation officer Chris Doyle, the incident occurred on a trail called Crouching Squirrel Hidden Monkey. The rider came across an adult cougar that had killed a deer, and acted aggressively to protect its kill. There was an altercation with the riders' dog that resulted in minor injuries, but otherwise both the rider and his dog made it out safely.
According to Doyle, there are no plans to destroy the cougar. "The behaviour of the cougar is what we would consider normal, but having said that it's not good to have something like this happen on a high-use trail," he said. "We will not have to remove the cougar from the area, but asked the District of Squamish to close the trail so there are no further issues."
Doyle said the closure would likely be in place until the end of this week, giving the cougar time to move on. As a species they are not territorial, but follow their prey. The area is also not in the immediate area of Squamish.
The three cougars killed in Squamish two weeks ago were not acting normally, said Doyle, and there were a lot of encounters with the animals in populated areas that were of concern.
The recent cougar encounter was also not unexpected.
"There may be one or two more cougars in the area than normal, and a lot of recreational users and cougars using the same trails," he said.
Doyle's office was also busy in Whistler on Tuesday after receiving a report that a black bear had broken into a local pizza restaurant. Conservation officers will be placing a trap in the area and will try to tag and relocate the bear away from Whistler and the Village.
"I think we'll see more activity around the village now," said Doyle. "We usually do in October when the alpine berries are done and given that the berries were not in any kind of abundance this year we're expecting more activity this fall."