Provincial conservation officers and Saanich police are currently tracking a cougar in Saanich’s Gordon Head neighbourhood. (File photo)

UPDATED: Cougar evades police, dogs in Saanich

Greater Victoria has had a ‘number of confirmed cougar sightings’ this spring

Provincial conservation officers and police are urging residents to be on the lookout after scouring a Gordon Head neighbourhood for a cougar Thursday afternoon.

At 1:30 p.m., a woman out gardening got a fright when she heard a growl behind her and saw the face of a cougar looking back as she peered through a hedge.

RELATED: Three cougar sightings in three days

Officers scoured the neighbourhood of San Lorenzo Avenue, first on foot, then with dogs.

“We’ve had a number of confirmed cougar sightings in this area,” said Sgt. Scott Norris, BC Conservation Service. “ It doesn’t mean the cougar wasn’t here. Cougars are very elusive, when they want to be seen they’ll be seen, when they don’t want to be seen they’re gone.”

It’s a good reminder that there are cougars in Greater Victoria “from time to time” as young animals seek territory and the area offers plenty of food options, said Norris. “Young cougars are dispersing looking for new prey.”

Officers from the BC Conservation Service and Saanich Police department did not find the animal. However, police continue to urge residents to call them if they a cougar.

If you spot a cougar call local police or the provincial RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.

If you see a cougar

• Remain calm, the cougar was likely just passing through the neighbourhood and will hopefully move on.

• Keep away from the cougar and tell others to do the same. Bring children and pets inside until the cougar has left.

• Feed pets indoors, or if fed outdoors, bring in any uneaten food as the smell of pet food may attract cougars in addition to the pets (potential prey) themselves. Keep your pets indoors, especially at night. Cats and small dogs that are left to free-range can become easy prey targets.Light walkways and remove any heavy vegetation or landscaping near the house.

• Store garbage in cans with tight-fitting lids so odors do not attract small mammals.

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The BC Conservation officers actively search for a cougar in Gordon Head on March 28. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

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