(Photo by Josh DeLeenheer)

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are warning the public to be cautious after a report of a cougar sighting in Duncan Thursday evening.

Police were notified about the sighting at approximately 9:30 p.m. on May 6. The cougar was seen near the 500 block of Cedar Avenue.

Officers responded and patrolled the area, but were unable to locate the animal. Its direction of travel is unknown.

According to the RCMP, the cougar did not threaten anyone but as it appeared in a populated area they are asking residents to be vigilant.

“Cougar encounters with people are rare, but they do happen,” says Corporal Chris Manseau of the BC RCMP.

“Although cougars normally avoid a confrontation, they are unpredictable. If you encounter one, stay calm, and always give a cougar an avenue of escape.”

The BC Conservation Officer Service was notified and is aware of the incident. Earlier this week, a woman was attacked by a cougar in Harrison Mills, near Chilliwack.

She sustained serious injuries in the attack and was airlifted to hospital.

“Cougars are elusive animals and attacks on people are extremely rare,” the BCCOS said in response to the attack.

“Physical contact between humans and wildlife is very rare; predatory attacks are even rarer yet. The public should always educate themselves on what wildlife is in their area and what precautions they need to take if they encounter wildlife.”

To report a conflict with wildlife that threatens public safety call 1-877-952-7277

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