01/16/2013 11:50 EST | Updated 03/18/2013 05:12 EDT

Cougar, Bobcat Sightings Put Merritt Residents On Alert

MERRITT, B.C. - Residents of Merritt, B.C., are being warned about an unusually high number of cougar and bobcat sightings around their city, about 350 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

Bylaw officer Bob Davis says two cougars were spotted near a school in the Nicola Valley community Tuesday, and there have been five sightings of bobcats this week.

Davis says there's concern because one of the usually-shy bobcats was confronted by a conservation officer and a police officer just minutes after it attacked a house cat.

The bobcat refused to surrender its prey, despite a nearly 40-minute struggle with the two humans.

Davis says the officers were reluctant to shoot the wild cat and were eventually able to capture it and free the injured house cat.

He says cougars and bobcats are capable of killing much larger prey, so Merritt residents are advised to keep close track of small children and pets. (CHNL)

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