Victoria police are warning the public to stay alert after a possible cougar sighting in downtown Esquimalt this morning.
A man called police Wednesday morning and said he and a friend saw a large cougar in the 900-block of Esquimalt Road around 6:30 a.m.
Police officers are now searching the area and also notifying daycares and nearby businesses.
If you see a cougar, call 911.
If you encounter a cougar, follow these tips from the B.C. Ministry of Environment:
- Never approach a cougar. Although cougars will normally avoid a confrontation, all cougars are unpredictable. Cougars feeding on a kill may be dangerous.
- Always give a cougar an avenue of escape.
- Stay calm. Talk to the cougar in a confident voice.
- Pick all children up off the ground immediately. Children frighten easily and their rapid movements may provoke an attack.
- Do not run. Try to back away from the cougar slowly. Sudden movement or flight may trigger an instinctive attack.
- Do not turn your back on the cougar. Face the cougar and remain upright.
- Do all you can to enlarge your image. Don’t crouch down or try to hide. Pick up sticks or branches and wave them about.
If a cougar behaves aggressively:
- Arm yourself with a large stick, throw rocks, speak loudly and firmly. Convince the cougar that you are a threat not prey.
- If a cougar attacks, fight back! Many people have survived cougar attacks by fighting back with anything, including rocks, sticks, bare fists, and fishing poles.
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