Updated: Fri Jun. 19 2009 19:05:35
Days after her daughter Maya was attacked by a cougar in Squamish, B.C., Maureen Lee is speaking out - against urban development.
Lee has joined forces with animal advocacy group Big Wildlife to call on construction companies to stop the urban sprawl taking place in Squamish.
"I believe the recent incidents with cougars are sign we are developing the area too rapidly for the cougars to adapt to their loss of territory," she said. "We need to respect cougars by respecting their home."
But Squamish isn't the only area at risk. Vancouver Island has the highest frequency of cougar attacks on humans of any place in North America - and it's on the rise.
"We have been expanding into more wilderness areas all the time, and that interaction with wildlife is just bound to occur because of that," Victoria wildlife conflict specialist Mike Badry said Friday.
In the mean time, hikers are advised to keep kids close, leave small pets at home, and maybe even consider carrying bear spray.
"Probably the best piece of advice is to know that you're in cougar country," Badry said. "You want to keep from attracting cougars from whatever area you're in."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jim Beatty
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org