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Cougar spotted near elementary school south of town

A cougar was spotted near Ocean Grove Elementary School yesterday, prompting the conservation service to investigate.

Mike Newton, sergeant for the Conservation Officer Service’s North Island zone, says he came to the school to track the big cat, but it had left the area. He investigated nearby properties and suspects it may have been attracted by the local rabbit population, thriving from new births this spring.

“They (cougars) tend to move a lot at this time of year when the weather warms up, all the wildlife is on the move,” he says. “That’s one thing we do watch for, if we get repeated calls in a certain area, it’s an indication a cougar has set up in a certain location. This is the first sighting we’ve seen in that area.”

Newton says people should avoid feeding deer and other wildlife in their backyards, keep house cats indoors and keep small dogs on leash when walking in forested areas, especially during early morning or dusk.

Another cougar was spotted yesterday near Dolly Varden Road, but Newton says it was not reported to conservation. He encourages people to report all cougar sightings by calling the provincial Report All Poachers and Polluters line at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).

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