Oak Bay cougar sighting faked

No further confirmed cougar sightings noted in Oak Bay

A reported cougar sighting prompted a convergence of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service and Oak Bay Police in the Monterey Avenue and Central Avenue last Friday evening.

However, the report turned out to be fake.

“The matter is now concluded and as a result of this information the police would like to reassure the public that this report of a cougar wandering around the neighbourhood was false,” said Oak Bay Police Const. Rick Anthony, community liaison officer.

On Oct. 16 the Oak Bay Police received a call of a cougar sighting by a young girl on Central Avenue near Monterey Avenue who had allegedly taken a photo of the cougar lying in the grass. The photo was sent to the Conservation Officers who confirmed it was that of a cougar.

A number of police resources, including conservation officers, were deployed to search.

“Information was received over the weekend that led police to look into the claim that the young girl had made about seeing a cougar,” Anthony said Monday.

“It was discovered that she in fact made up the story and the photo was one that she had seen on the internet regarding a cougar that had been shot and killed in Edmonton last year. The girl had cropped and saved the photo to her cell phone.”

Police said the girl was interviewed with her parents by police and is remorseful.

“It was explained to her that it’s a very serious matter and could be construed as a criminal offence of public mischief which is making a false report to police,” Anthony said.

There were no confirmed cougar sightingsn in Oak Bay as of Oak Bay News deadline.

The Conservation Officer Service asks that any sightings or sign of cougar activity be reported in a timely fashion to the 24-hour call centre at 1-877-952-7277 and Oak Bay Police at 250-592-2424.