Multiple cougar sightings and leftover remains from their hunts have residents in Langford’s Thetis Heights neighbourhood concerned and scared.
Over the past week, residents on a neighbourhood Facebook page have posted videos of multiple cougars patrolling driveways at all times of the day.
Cecilia Jenkins, an area resident, said this is a very concerning situation.
“I’m very scared, to be honest,” Jenkins said. “We have animals, there is children in the neighbourhood and it’s very close to where we live.”
Charmaine Corbin, another area resident, told CHEK News her cat was unfortunately killed by the cougar.
She said on Thursday before she knew about the cougar sightings, she let her five-year-old cat Mr. Earl Grey outside to lay in the sun.
When she called him back a few hours later he didn’t return when called, which was unusual.
“He’s never ever done that before,” Corbin said.
On Friday, Corbin’s daughter found their cat’s remains.
“He’s a 20-pound cat and he was literally ripped apart like a chicken,” Corbin explained. “Literally not even like 10 feet away from the back deck of my house.”
Her neighbour’s cat is now missing and another resident found a raccoon remains near a cougar paw print and droppings.
She said when she called Conservation Officer Services (COF), they told her the cougars were likely hunting.
With walking trails and a school nearby, those who live in the area said they are concerned for their children and pets.
Jenkins said she takes extra precautions when taking her dog for a walk.
“I don’t come alone. My friend and I are prepared. We have air horns and bear spray, but it feels very scary,” she said.
Her friend Erin Dixon said she carries a whistle and bear spray, adding “I keep [my dogs] close to me, I won’t let them off leash.”
In a statement to CHEK News, the Ministry of Environment said COF has “relatively frequent reports of cougar sightings in Thetis Lake area year-round.”
It added the officers have received a few reports of sightings, as well as the cat and raccoon attack, but there have been no reports of aggression or irregular behaviour.
Corbin said multiple animals have been killed and a conservation officer should be coming to the area.
“Obviously it’s getting pretty comfortable, coming right up to people’s houses and ripping apart their animals. That’s too close for comfort. In my opinion, you would think conservation would be coming and trapping it,” she said.
The ministry has said it will continue to monitor activity in this area, but residents in close proximity to large wilderness spaces should be vigilant at all times and not require advisories unless cougar behaviour is deemed irregular.
Information on what residents can do to protect themselves from a cougar, or what they should do if they see one, can be found on the province’s website.