Conservation officers in Oak Bay today

Multiple cougar sightings prompt response from BC Conservation Office

The BC Conservation Service is set to explore Oak Bay today (Oct. 13) after multiple cougar sightings reported in the community over the long weekend.

“Nothing’s been confirmed, nothing’s solid like the one in James Bay,” said Const. Rick Anthony, community liaison officer for Oak Bay Police. “People are seeing things they think are cougars and maybe they are. We’re advising people to be vigilant if a sighting was in the area you’re living.”

Six sightings were reported since last Thursday with three last night in several Oak Bay locations, all within a similar time frame.

“The conservation guys are going to come down today and take a look around,” Anthony said, adding the recent sightings are not confirmed, for example with photos or by a professional. “We’ve had sightings in the past, and it turns out to be a big house cat, so it really has to be a confirmed sighting before we get a bunch of cougar hounds and tranquilizer guns.”

Oak Bay Police confirmed a young fawn was attacked and killed by another animal earlier this month in Oak Bay. A cougar was subsequently recovered in James Bay, after an hours-long hunt, and relocated. While conservation officers believed the cougar was likely the animal spotted in south Oak Bay, cougar sightings continued in all areas of the community.

“That (deer carcass) was a good sign that yes we were probably dealing with a cougar. When you start to get those things, you certainly have a better foundation to work from,” Anthony said.

Oak Bay Police remind residents to take precautions such as walking in groups and avoiding wooded areas, adding that cougars tend to be out between dusk and dawn.

“They’re as scared as we are probably. We don’t want the fear to get out of control,” Anthony said. “We don’t deter people from calling, call if you think you see something. … Right now we’re trying to minimize the fear factor, be vigilant and keep your eyes peeled.”

Report cougars to Oak Bay Police at 250-592-2424 or call 9-1-1 in an emergency.