The West Shore RCMP have issued a warning urging people to be cautious after a cougar was spotted in a Colwood neighbourhood Monday night.
The cougar sighting happened near the 490-block of Regency Place in Colwood, according to Mounties, who say the BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) is aware of the incident.
“…please be mindful if you’re in the area given the recent sighting,” said West Shore RCMP in a tweet Tuesday morning.
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,” reads the COS website.
“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.”
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Cougars have been sighted in Colwood before, including in April when a family was shocked to find one pacing around a dead deer in their driveway. This happened in the 3100-block of Matilda Drive, months after three cougars were seen roaming around a Latoria Road backyard in January.
VanIsle Hunters says cougars are the largest cat species in B.C. with as many as 800 living on Vancouver Island.
If a cougar attacks, the COS says to convince the cat you are a threat and not prey, using anything you can as a weapon while aiming for the cat’s face and eyes.
“Use rocks, sticks, bear spray or personal belongings as weapons. You are trying to convince the cougar that you are a threat, and are not prey,” it added.
If a cougar poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety, call the COS at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).
More safety tips are online here.
Report of a cougar sighting near the 490 block of Regency Place in Colwood last night. BC Conservation has been made aware, please be mindful if you're in the area given the recent sighting & check out this link for tips on what to do if you see a cougar: https://t.co/TV8Co7fIQ8
— West Shore RCMP (@WestshoreRCMP) August 1, 2023