(Photo by Josh DeLeenheer)

The West Shore RCMP are warning residents of a cougar roaming around in the View Royal area this morning.

In a release, West Shore RCMP said they received several reports of a cougar being spotted near Stewart Avenue and Island Hwy around 6 a.m. Thursday.

“Police notified Conservation right away and have not received any further calls,” said Cst. Nancy Saggar, Media Relations Officer West Shore RCMP.

Police are asking that residents do not approach the cougar. Meanwhile, conservation officers have been notified of the sighting.

Wildlife encounters have been on the rise across the south island this spring. Just yesterday, Saanich police issued a warning after a black bear was spotted on Wolsey Place in the Ten Mile Point area and was seen headed into Konukson Park.

On Monday, conservation officers had to euthanize an adult black bear in Langford after he was seen repeatedly eating garbage.

When bears get so accustomed to eating food made available by human sources, they lose their fear of human beings, and then cannot be relocated as they find their way back to cities to forage for food.

Residents in B.C. are required by law to lock up their garbage in an enclosure or a garbage container that has locking lids where trash cannot be accessed by wildlife.

Failure to lock up one’s garbage can lead to a $230 fine.

B.C. residents can report all wildlife-human interactions that put the public and animals at risk by calling 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or #7277 on the TELUS Mobility Network.

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:

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

 

See also: This is what a screaming cougar on Vancouver Island sounds like (VIDEO)