Relocated cougar likely travelled through Oak Bay

Multiple cougar reports kept students inside and police and conservation officers on the lookout in south Oak Bay Friday

A young cougar tranquilized in a James Bay backyard Monday morning was likely the same one spotted previously in Oak Bay.

“It seems likely. I would say it’s 90 to 95 per cent the same one,” said Conservation Officer Peter Pauwels. “It’s pretty rare to get one in there (Oak Bay and James Bay). For it to be two different ones would be beyond belief to me.”

Multiple cougar reports kept students inside and police and conservation officers on the lookout in south Oak Bay Friday (Oct. 2). The first report came in to police from the area of Brighton and Monterey avenues, said Kent Thom, deputy chief of Oak Bay Police Department.

Most sightings were in the early morning or evening in south Oak Bay and BC Conservation advised it was likely a nocturnal animal looking to avoid human contact during the day.

“I don’t know that people really need to change anything or be afraid because of this incident. When the cougars get into these heavily populated areas, the cougars are scared, they’re frightened and trying to get out. They’re not out stalking people,” Pauwels said.

“It wants to get out and it wants to keep a low profile. It’s moving around at night. If it’s hungry it might take a raccoon or a house cat.”

In a letter fan-out to parents on Friday morning, administrators at Monterey outlined a safety plan in place for students. “Oak Bay Police recently introduced a new drill this year called ‘hold and secure’, which is suitable for situations such as this one,” principal Ken Andrews wrote to parents.

Less intense than a lockdown, students and staff can move freely within the building.

Staff ushered students into the building as they arrived to school supervising them in the gym and library until first bell.

“It’s a new CRD-wide policy,” used where there is an outside danger, such as a cougar Thom explained. “We contact the school and let them know. They will hold and secure inside the school. If there’s an active danger inside the school it’s handled differently.”

Students were released from school at the usual time, armed with information on how to safely walk home, including staying in groups and avoiding wooded areas.

Monday morning Victoria Police Department started getting sightings reported in James Bay. BC Conservation and VicPD contained the cat, estimated at 18-months old, and it was tranquilized mid-morning. It’s young and healthy, making it a candidate for relocation. “It’s ear tagged so we’ll know if it shows up somewhere else,” Pauwels said.

With the amount of deer, a traditional cougar meal, walking around the CRD, Pauwels said the Oak Bay deer population was likely not a direct attractant for the young cat. “We’ve got deer all over the place if it was looking for deer it could have made it’s home in Saanich, Metchosin … this is too busy a place for it to be comfortable,” Pauwels said. “It would have liked to have gotten out of there but it didn’t know.”


Just Posted

A client and a staff member embark on an art project at Oak Bay United Church. (Christine van Reewyk/News Staff)
VIDEO: Oak Bay group of adults with developmental disabilities promotes community inclusivity

Victoria Community Connections moved to Oak Bay late last year

Red arrow shows the existing warehouse that is home to a variety of specialized equipment used by the Capital Region Emergency Services Telecommunications (CREST). The service provider is looking for a new home that will protect the equipment in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster. (Google Maps)
CREST telecoms look to find a post-seismic facility in Greater Victoria

The move will better protect equipment vital to its 50 emergency service clients across the CRD

(Black Press Media file photo)
FRESH AND LOCAL: Greater Victoria farm markets ready to greet shoppers

A list of markets on the go this spring and summer, right into fall

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Graeme Wright is the owner of Hullabaloo, a new ice cream and coffee food truck serving patrons at the Red Barn on West Saanich. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff).
VIDEO: Cool treats, warm bevvies a specialty for new Saanich food truck

Hullabaloo owner Graeme Wright passionate about blending green space with sustainability

How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

Terry Mazzei next to a truck after it was struck by lightning, with him inside, on Wednesday afternoon, June 9. He walked away from the incident without injury and the truck sustained only mild damage; a blown front tire and newly broken gas gauge. (Wendy Mazzei photo)
Vancouver Island man walks away unscathed after lightning strike

VIDEO: ‘We like to think that his dad was watching over him’

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Most Read