According to the Oak Bay Police and as reported by CFAX, there have been four cougar sightings reported in Oak Bay yesterday, Monday, August 10. The sightings occurred around 6:45 a.m. in the Musgrave and Dewdney Street areas. Police were unable to locate the single cougar but have put warning signs up in the nearby Uplands Park. The BC Conservation Service has been called in and is following up.
There have been single cougar sightings from time to time in Victoria for many years.
In 1992, a cougar was captured in the parking garage by the Empress Hotel. In 1989, a cougar smashed through the glass window of a downtown basement suite. In 1961, a cougar was killed in the 1400-block of Government Street and in 1926, a cougar was shot behind the Carnegie Library building on Yates Street.
Courtenay author Paula Wild (The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous), says that “… the boundary between human and cougar habitat appears to be blurring in modern times. Increasingly, humans take to the wilds for recreation. Meanwhile, young cougars, forced out of prime hunting territories by older, more experienced cats, will venture into the city to eat dogs, cats and raccoons. Not to mention deer, which are plentiful in urban areas within Victoria and other cities”.
Cougars tend to hide or flee from areas where humans are, but if you live near the vicinity where the cougar sighting took place, please keep a close eye on your pets – keep them on a leash or inside. Cougars do not like loud, sustained noises – carrying a whistle is a good idea.
In a Times Colonist article by Adrian Chamberlain in November 2013, he quotes Wild as recommending “being aware of one’s environment. If birds suddenly “start chirping” or, conversely, if it becomes unnaturally quiet — that could be a tip-off a cougar’s lurking. If confronted by a cougar, fling sticks and stones. Make yourself look large as possible by throwing up your arms. Make noise. And maintain eye contact — it’s a way of establishing dominance”.