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.

 

Just Posted

Japanese knotweed has come to Sooke, and that’s a problem

Invasive plant is a serious threat to waterways and infrastructure

Every situation is different, jurors hear at coroners inquest into Oak Bay teen’s overdose death

Pediatrician says involuntary treatment necessary following overdose, opioid use

Sooke council pans multiple memorial plaque plan

District should not sell the same bench over and over again, says councillor

Inaugural Sarah Beckett memorial Run raises $20,000 for law enforcement scholarship

Widow calls run, community playground fitting tributes to fallen mom and Mountie

‘The system has fallen apart:’ Victoria woman’s son died a day after being accepted to treatment centre

Victoria man’s body went undiscovered in Victoria parking lot for five days after overdose

VIDEO: Victoria airport guests see dinosaur surprise

Two boys dressed as raptors get a shock when their grandmother comes to greet them

B.C. Ferries vessel breaks down right before long weekend

Horseshoe Bay-Langdale route impacted most, revised schedule adds 4 a.m. sailings

Weather Canada issues thunderstorm alert for coastal Vancouver Island

Severe thunderstorm watch issued around 4:15 p.m. as storms developed over sections of the Island

Fraser Institute releases latest B.C. high school rankings

Fastest improving schools are in cities including Agassiz, Kitimat and 100 Mile House

Nanaimo man gets jail time for posting explicit photos of ex-girlfriends

Man’s name cannot be revealed to protect victims’ identities

North Island thrift store robbed at knifepoint, say RCMP

Suspect fled on bicycle following Tuesday stick-up

RCMP across Canada to soon unionize, according to B.C. mayor

A spokeswoman for RCMP headquarters in Ottawa says it’s not yet a done deal

Explicit sex-ed guide for adults mistakenly given to Creston elementary students

The booklet clearly states online and inside that the guide contains sexually explicit information

Most Read