A calm summer evening turned into a frightening affair for one local woman when a cougar stalked her and her dog in Colwood on Thursday.
Around 8:00 pm, Shannon Vye was walking her dog on the grounds of Royal Roads University when she encountered a cougar. Despite repeated attempts to scare off the animal, it didn’t flee until West Shore RCMP and a Conservation Officer intervened.
Officers were later seen with their weapons drawn. However, no shots were fired.
Initial reports said the cougar had roamed towards Belmont Park after the incident. However, according to Vye, the Conservation Officer said that the animal had escaped.
“We responded to a complaint of a woman walking her dog in the Royal Roads park just after 8pm,” said Cst. Alex Bérubé, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP. “[The cougar] was laying in the grass watching her and following her every time she tried to move. We had officers attend and locate the woman and also observed the cougar. Officers escorted her out of the park to safety while keeping an eye on the cougar. The cougar eventually walked away. Nobody was injured.”
In a follow-up statement, the Conservation Officer Service said that they are aware of the situation and monitoring it, but have nothing further to report at this time.
“This cougar had no fear”
Vye described the harrowing encounter to Victoria Buzz via Facebook.
“The cougar was not going to let me move and when I tried to back away he started to come towards me,” said Vye. “I never want to see an animal put down but this cougar had no fear.”
Despite Vye following the commonly suggested procedures when dealing with a large wild animal (i.e. making loud noises, backing away slowly), the cougar wasn’t phased.
“[The cougar] Didn’t even flinch to all my screaming at it,” said Vye. “Thankfully the Westshore RCMP got there in under 15 mins to save me. They did have the cougar in their sight as I was being taken away to safety but last I was told by the conservation officer that the cougar managed to escape. I am very thankful to the Westshore RCMP!!! [sic]”
BC Conservation Officer believes cougar was curious of dog
“The description on of incident would indicate that the cougar was curious and interested in the dog,” BC Conservation Officer said in an email to Victoria Buzz. “A cougar is capable of leaping 30 feet and if it was predatory it could have caught the dog.”
Here are some tips for dealing with a cougar (courtesy of BC’s Ministry of Environment) should the situation arise.
If you meet a cougar:
- Never approach a cougar. Although cougars will normally avoid a confrontation, all cougars are unpredictable. Cougars feeding on a kill may be dangerous.
- Always give a cougar an avenue of escape.
- Stay calm. Talk to the cougar in a confident voice.
- Pick all children up off the ground immediately. Children frighten easily and their rapid movements may provoke an attack.
- Do not run. Try to back away from the cougar slowly. Sudden movement or flight may trigger an instinctive attack.
- Do not turn your back on the cougar. Face the cougar and remain upright.
- Do all you can to enlarge your image. Don’t crouch down or try to hide. Pick up sticks or branches and wave them about.
If a cougar behaves aggressively:
- Arm yourself with a large stick, throw rocks, speak loudly and firmly. Convince the cougar that you are a threat not prey.
- If a cougar attacks, fight back! Many people have survived cougar attacks by fighting back with anything, including rocks, sticks, bare fists, and fishing poles.
Correction: A previous version of this article used Shannon Vye’s Facebook pseudonym Braxton Haven.