'I didn't really believe it was happening': Cougar caught on camera entering suburban B.C. parkade
Michael Leone has never seen anything like it in his four years living in and around Langley, B.C.
He has a neighbour who's lived in the area for her entire life, and she's never seen it before, either.
It definitely happened, though. There's video to prove it.
On Wednesday evening, a cougar entered the parkade of Leone's condo building near 196 Street and 64 Avenue, just a block away from the Willowbrook Mall.
"I didn't really believe it was happening," he told CTV News Vancouver. "You never really hear of any wildlife - you know, cougar, bear, that type of thing - in this area."
The building is technically in the City of Surrey, but it's on the border with Langley. It's a highly developed area, far from the mountains and forests that cougars typically call home.
Another resident of the building spotted the animal first. Leone saw a post about the cougar in his building's private Facebook group Wednesday night, March 31.
As a member of the building's strata council, he has access to the security cameras, so he went looking for evidence of the big cat.
"We thought maybe it was an early April Fool's prank, so the next day I went down and checked the cameras," he said. "We watched the footage from 9 (p.m.) to 11 (p.m.) and we were just about to turn it off when we saw the cat run down the driveway."
Sure enough, the video, which Leone shared with CTV News, shows the cougar strolling down the ramp into the building's underground parking area. The camera's timestamp shows it was recorded at 11:07 p.m. on March 31, 2021.
A few minutes later, after an unsuspecting driver has driven their sedan down the ramp and out of frame, the cat sprints back up the driveway toward the exit.
Leone said the discovery was "shocking" and "exciting," but it also left him concerned. He shared the video in another local Facebook group, hoping to warn residents of a cougar in the neighbourhood.
Cougars have attacked several pets in the Tri-Cities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody over the last few months. In March, the BC Conservation Officer Service captured and killed three different big cats that, according to conservation officers, had lost their fear of humans.
On Sunday, the service told CTV News cougar sightings in Langley and Surrey are rare, but not unheard of, since cougars hunt deer and deer sometimes wander into urban areas.
The cougar in the parkade fled when a driver honked their horn, according to the conservation officer service. That's a good sign, because it means the animal is afraid of humans, the service said.
Conservation officers remind anyone who spots a cougar to report the sighting by calling the province's Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277