Police converged on campus after a cougar was spotted at Camosun early Friday morning.

Police converged on campus after a cougar was spotted at Camosun early Friday morning.

Cougar sightings have increased in the region: conservation officer

The number of cougar sightings has gone up in Greater Victoria compared to previous years

  • Oct. 11, 2015 6:00 a.m.

Kendra Wong/Victoria News

The number of cougar sightings has gone up in Greater Victoria compared to previous years, according to a B.C. conservation officer.

Sgt. Scott Norris, a conservation officer, said in October there have been five to 10 reported sightings in the Oak Bay and James Bay areas. In August, there were upwards of 10 sightings in Oak Bay.

“We have a steady number of cougar sightings and reports in Greater Victoria. In downtown and Oak Bay, there are more than last year definitely,” said Norris.

Most recently, conservation officers and the Victoria Police Department pursued and caught a male cougar that found its way into James Bay.

The big cat was originally spotted Monday around 3 a.m. After several hours of chasing it through backyards in the 200-blocks of Michigan, Ontario and Superior streets, the cougar was eventually tranquilized and relocated to the middle of Vancouver Island.

Norris said the cougar, who was roughly two years old and still trying to establish a territory, may have come from the Saanich Peninsula – something that is happening more often.

“From time to time, they make their way across and follow the shoreline down and end up in areas where they don’t expect to normally be and they’re looking for a way out,” he said, adding the cougar was likely the same one spotted in Oak Bay last month.

“Like humans, they think ‘If I keep going this way, I’ll find my way out’ and they don’t and get deeper and deeper in the city.”

The increased deer population is also having an impact on the Island’s cougar population, driving them closer to the city.

In traditional predator-prey relationship, if the deer population is up, predator numbers will also increase.

With more cougars in the Highlands, Metchosin and Goldstream areas, younger cougars will have to look elsewhere to establish their territory, Norris said.

“There’s no real rhyme or reason other than just normal wild animal behaviour. They’re hungry, they’re looking for food and territory,” he said, noting he expects the number of sightings to decrease in the winter since they usually hunt from dusk until dawn.

 

This is the fourth time in the last 25 years that a cougar has been chased in downtown Victoria.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
Saanich teen ‘locked inside,’ regaining speech after severe brain hemorrhage

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

North Saanich is giving local businesses a break by waving renewal fees for 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
North Saanich waives business renewal fees for 2021

The municipality raised $48,000 from businesses licences in 2020

The Sooke school district has filled all spots for their French immersion and nature kinderagarten programs in 2021-2022 school year. Regular kindergarten registration is still open and available. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke school district gets surplus of nature, French immersion kindergarten applications

Not enough room for almost half of nature kindergarten applicants

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read