The Whiffin Spit area in Sooke is on edge after a cougar was seen peering into a resident’s home last week.
The cougar is believed to be the same animal captured, tagged and relocated from the Florence Lake area last spring, said conservation officer Peter Pauwels.
“There are very few that get ear tagged and released, so there’s only two possibilities which one it is,” Pauwels said.
There have been 15 cougar-related calls in Sooke region since April.
Still, a cougar sighting is rare and unusual.
Pauwels pointed out a rumour in another Sooke news outlets stating that an ear-tagged cougar has been seen in the Whiffin Spit area for years is “absolutely untrue.”
If captured, the cougar, a two-year-old male, will not be relocated again.
“We’re only allowed to do that once. With the behavior it’s displaying now, it wouldn’t be a candidate anyway because it’s showing unusual behaviour. It’s walking up to houses, looking in windows. It’s not afraid of people,” Pauwels said.
“Relocation can work in certain situations, but if you have an animal that’s habituated to people, that prefers to live around people, if you take it up in the bush, it’s going to come back.”
Pauwels said the cougar seen in Whiffin Spit is not acting aggressively towards people, but that doesn’t make it less of a concern, either.
“It has no fear of people, so it’s going to live amongst us. That makes it a concern because if somebody was to see it and do the wrong thing like run away, it could actually trigger an attack.”