Saanich police are asking the public to be cautious after a cougar was spotted on a residential street Monday morning.
Police say they received a report of a cougar sighting in the 1200-block of Judge Place, off Blenkinsop Road, around 10:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 7.
“We are asking members of the public attending the area to be aware of the recent cougar sighting,” Saanich Police said in a news release.
The cougar was last seen heading toward Playfair Park, according to police. The release was sent out just after 11 a.m., and at the time Saanich Police said officers were unable to find the cat.
Police say the BC Conservation Officer Service was advised of the sighting, and CHEK News has reached out to the COS for more information.
This isn’t the first cougar sighting reported by Saanich Police this summer. In July, they warned residents near PKOLS (Mount Doug Park) to be cautious after a cougar was seen two days in a row.
The COS has cougar safety guidelines on its website, including staying calm and keeping the cat in view, picking up children immediately and backing away slowly when seeing one.
“Make yourself look as large as possible and keep the cougar in front of you at all times. Never run or turn your back on a cougar, sudden movement may provoke an attack,” says the COS.
“If a cougar shows interest or follows you, respond aggressively, maintain eye contact with the cougar, show your teeth and make loud noise. Arm yourself with rocks or sticks as weapons.”
If a cougar attacks, the COS says to convince the cat you are a threat, using anything you can as a weapon — rocks, sticks or even personal belongings — while aiming for the cat’s face and eyes.
The COS can be reached at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP), and more safety tips can be found online here.
VanIsle Hunters says cougars are the largest cat species in B.C., with as many as 800 living on Vancouver Island.