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Video: Cougar family on the prowl in Port Moody 'a beautiful sight'

The video of four cougars walking along a trail was captured by a wildlife surveillance camera near the Mossom Creek hatchery.
Cougars are active in the Tri-Cities area; as reminded by the recent capture on a wildlife surveillance camera of a family group of four cougars near the Mossom Creek hatchery in Port Moody.

Stunning video of a family of four cougars walking along a trail in the Mossom Creek watershed in Port Moody is a reminder of how close the urban environs of the Tri-Cities are to a vast wilderness just beyond the suburban housing tracts.

Tracy Green, of the Burrard Inlet Marine Enhancement Society, said the black and white night-vision video captured by a wildlife surveillance camera late in the afternoon of Dec. 11 took her breath away when she first saw it as cougars are generally solitary animals and it’s rare to see a family group — likely a female and three juveniles — moving together.

"It’s a beautiful sight to see," Green said. "It gives you that glimpse of what wildlife is doing when we’re not around."

Green said while the surveillance cameras set up by volunteer Paul Steeves, an avid wildlife photographer, routinely capture deer, bears and even a pack of otters heading upstream to find salmon, getting images of apex predators going about their business is a bit of a wake up call that we are living in their home.

She said the large cats were probably following deer and other prey that tends to migrate down the watershed to warmer climes when the weather gets colder.

As a result residents need to be extra vigilant, Green said, not only to protect themselves from possible encounters, but also to safeguard the animals from temptations that could get them into trouble. That includes taking measures to eliminate possible attractants that might lure mice and other small animals that represent an easy meal for a cougar, especially juveniles still learning how to hunt.

It also means keeping household pets on a leash when out and about near the woods and carrying a walking stick or can of pepper spray, "just in case," said Green.

"Ultimately, just be aware of your surroundings."

Green said as the Tri-Cities grow and more people migrate to the suburbs from the city, it’s easy for people to get complacent about their surroundings.

"They think they’re still in the city," she said.

A few days after the cougars were captured on video, as well as other reports of sightings, the city of Port Moody posted an advisory on its social media channels.

Two years ago, a juvenile cougar had to be killed in Port Coquitlam after a 14-year-old boy reported being stalked while he was walking home near Hyde Creek and several dogs had been attacked previously in Coquitlam.

In May 2022, warning signs were posted in the area of Riverview Crescent and Chalk Drive in Coquitlam after a cougar was spotted in the area that includes an elementary school and a daycare.

The Mossom Creek hatchery has more tips on how to stay safe when cougars are in the area, and to help keep the cougars safe.