This place I live in is on the edge of the wilderness. Vancouver is a city wedged between ocean and mountains. It’s a place that isn’t really all that tamed, geography just doesn’t permit it. I love the wildness, the sort of rugged beauty. However, there are certain concessions that need to be made when you live in a place like this.
We have lots of black bears in our province, and we need to be ever mindful of them. We also have lots of raccoons, skunks and coyotes. These are the animals that you’re most likely to come across in developed areas. But the animal that scares me the most, and is thankfully considered extremely elusive, is the cougar. 165 pounds of wildcat is not my idea of a good time.
Two weeks ago in Brackendale, an hour or so North of Vancouver, there was a cougar attack. The area of the attack is rural and mountainous. A family was picking berries in a local park when a cougar jumped on their 3-year-old daughter, pinning her to the ground.
Her mother took immediate action. The radio report I heard said she pulled the cougar off her daughter and placed herself between them. She managed to stand up and push the big cat off. And he backed down and ran off. The little girl has some puncture wounds to her head, but is just fine and apparently not all that shaken. The cougar was later hunted down and shot.
Listening to the report left me shaking. The actions of this mom struck me. She’s probably no different than I am, but she fought off a large predator without a second thought. The mere idea of facing down a wildcat to protect your child overwhelms me with emotion.
I can’t say for sure how I would react if a cougar attacked my child. But I bet I could be as fierce and strong as I needed to be. I could wrestle a cougar to keep my baby safe. And that’s what makes me shake. The power that is contained in the heart of a mother. It’s amazing and frightening and ferocious. And it cannot be contained.
So I’m putting the cougars on notice. They had better stay elusive, because they don’t want to see just how ferocious I can become.