(File photo)

Saanich Police are warning residents of Gordon Head of a possible cougar sighting that took place today.

Police say they received a report of a cougar sighting near Gordon Head Middle School at 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

After searching the area, officers were unable to locate any large predators. As a precaution, police issued the warning “for awareness of those in the area”.

Last month, there were four cougar encounters in the South Island.

On March 29th, a 4-year-old boy near Lake Cowichan was attacked by a cougar in the afternoon.

Prior to that, there were three cougar sightings within three days. In one of the instances, a Saanich homeowner spotted the large cat killing a deer in their backyard.

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If you see a cougar in your area, contact your local police detachment.

What to do if you encounter 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:

  • If cougar attacks, fight back! Many people have survived cougar attacks by fighting back with anything, including rocks, sticks, bare fists, and fishing poles.
  • Arm yourself with a large stick, throw rocks, speak loudly and firmly. Convince the cougar that you are a threat, not prey.

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