Cougar sightings on rise in Greater Victoria

Cougar sightings on rise

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

  • Oct. 8, 2015 8:00 a.m.

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 chased 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 Sooke, 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

Octopus art crawls into Colwood neighbourhood

Artist of knitted sleeves identifies herself on Instagram

Younger Canadians, men less likely to wear masks, according to Stats Canada

Immigrants, especially immigrant women, more likely to follow precautions

Metchosin to test tsunami notification on Thursday evening

Approximately 80 to 100 residents in tsunami-zone

Public tips lead to arrest in alleged random assault on Victoria bus

June 19 incident was recorded by onboard camera

Sooke Crisis Centre closes doors

Services previously offered to be dispersed throughout community support groups

VIDEO: Victoria’s Raging Grannies call for end to public funding of for-profit senior homes

Organizer says COVID-19 has made senior home issues more apparent

Campaign aims to raise $50K for young family of deceased Vancouver Island skydiver

James Smith, 34, died July 5 following incident in Nanoose Bay

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

B.C. ports part of data integration project to protect marine ecosystems

The $1.2 M federally funded program will draw crucial baseline data from Canada’s three coastlines

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

RCMP disarm man experiencing mental health crisis

The male pulled a knife on officers and then held it to his own throat expressing a desire to die

Most Read