TAY VALLEY TOWNSHIP - Keep your eyes peeled for cougars.
While sightings remain rare, cougar sightings in Tay Valley Township are not rare. Police services board co-chair Neil Fennell revealed that he had received a call from Glen Tay where a cougar had been seen recently near the Alcan sign company.
Fennell’s source reported the sighting to the OPP, but Fennell expressed concern about the wild animals.
“Butting up to the town (of Perth) we have a wild animal,” he said. “I think it came from the swamp area.”
Chair Maureen Towaij added that she too had received a sighting of a cougar from Philip Jones near Scotch Line while he was taking in hay five years ago. More recently, there have been cougar warnings issued for Gatineau Park.
“I wasn’t aware of the cougar sightings in the past,” said Fennell.
“They often get confused for the bobcat,” said Reeve Keith Kerr.
Resident David Taylor pointed out that cougars tend to follow waterways like the Tay River or Grant’s Creek, much like the black bear.
“They are a serious predator, particularly for kids in yards,” said Taylor.
Lanark County OPP detachment commander Insp. Gerry Salisbury said that while public safety was always a concern for the police, and they would certainly answer a call if, say, a cougar was spotted near a school, “this is a Ministry of Natural Resources issue, not the police. (But) it is a concern.”
“It is a safety issue when you have subdivisions with kids,” said Towaij.
Taylor admitted that the recent Glen Tay sighting “is an unsubstantiated sighting,” but that there was little to worry about.
“By now, it is 100 miles away,” said Taylor. “They really travel. That’s not to say they won’t come back. But they are not hanging around downtown Glen Tay.”
Salisbury promised to bring the issue to the attention of the Lanark County association of police services boards meeting in Lanark Highlands on Wednesday, March 6.