A trio of cougars seen on Flume Beach in Roberts Creek on Jan. 2 were likely a family unit that were travelling up the Coast looking for an easy route into the woods, according to Sunshine Coast conservation officer Dean Miller.
"It's not a call we normally get. Very rarely do you see cougars at all, whether they're in a group of three or just an individual cougar," Miller said. "This is obviously a case where we have a mother and two grown kits you don't see them together unless there is a family relation."
The cougars travelled the beach during daylight hours, which is unusual, Miller said. He noted the animals prefer to move in the forest under cover of dark.
Miller suggested the cougars "may possibly be malnourished," which may have driven them to choose the wide-open pathway the beach provided.
He thinks the trio were moving up the Coast looking for an easy access point into the mountains.
"Just before Christmas we received two sightings at the Port Mellon mill and then we received a few sightings in Langdale and then in Gibsons, then in Bonniebrook, then that one in Roberts Creek and then the last sighting was on Jan. 3 in Wilson Creek and we haven't received a sighting of these three cougars since," Miller said, adding no aggressive behaviour was ever reported.
"However, they were seen during the day and they weren't that shy of people."
The conservation office was monitoring the situation and thinking about trying to trap the cougars when reports about the animals stopped coming in.
"The last sighting was Wilson Creek and you've got the Chapman Creek drainage there and all sorts of trails going up into the hillside. My hope is that they just went up that way," Miller said. "Based on that geographic pattern I really thought we'd be forced to deal with them when they got to Sechelt, kind of a more urbanized area, but they never showed up there. So maybe the best thing happened and they just returned to more wild surroundings."
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