Bobcats are relatively harmless to humans, a B.C. conservation officer says, after several reports of sightings appear on Hope and Agassiz Facebook groups.
Bob Butcher is a sergeant with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, in charge of a zone stretching from Chilliwack to Lilloet. Butcher said reported sightings of bobcats went down in his area in 2017, with only five reported sightings compared to 11 the previous year.
The sightings reported online in January and February this year were likely young and immature bobcats who are having a difficult time finding food after a winter without much sustenance.
Bobcats will only attack humans if they are cornered or feel threatened, Butcher said.
“The only thing you don’t do is corner it somewhere. Just like a house cat, if it gets cornered and panics, they’ve got some sharp claws. You don’t tease it or try to injure it,” he said.
While bobcats are not a concern for human safety, people should keep their chickens fenced in this time of year.
“What they are after, though, is chickens and domestic fowl,” Butcher said, adding people who have these animals need to keep them penned and secured in an enclosure a bobcat can’t get inside. More rare, but possible, Butcher said, are bobcats going after cats or small dogs.
If people see a bobcat behaving unusually or aggressively, Butcher cautioned them to report this via the R.A.P.P. (Report All Poachers and Polluters) phone line at 1-877-952-7277.
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