Friday, April 04, 2014

Cougar Goes For Ocean Swim Off Vancouver Island

Cougar swimming by Vancouver Island
Fishing guide Graham Nielsen had seen wolves and bears swim between islands around Nootka Sound but never a cougar, and never at such a clip as he witnessed last week.

On July 15, the operator of Nielsen’s Lodge in Tahsis — a village on Vancouver Island’s west coast, about three hours from Campbell River — took three guests fishing on his 24-foot boat. After reeling in four halibut and eight salmon, they motored back in the late afternoon.

“One fellow saw something near the shore. He said, ‘Hey, it’s an otter. Weird. It looks like it’s paddling.’ So I say, ‘Otters don’t paddle,’ ” Nielsen said. “We got a bit closer and saw it was a cougar — not full grown, but big. Probably 10 feet, nose to tail. It was moving real fast, too. It swam nearly halfway across — about a quarter mile. I didn’t know they could swim like that.”

“Cougars are great swimmers,” said Thompson, a resource management officer at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve who specializes in cougar-human conflict management and public safety.
“They’ll commonly swim between islands in search of prey. Their preferred prey is deer, which also swim well,” she said.

Cougars also hunt mink and raccoons — and sea animals such as otters, seals and sea lion pups. “They’re a highly adaptable predator.” via:


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