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Runner in Colwood park followed by cougar

The woman was in Latoria Creek Park when she spotted a cougar on Friday. The big cat followed her as she left the park, but disappeared when she reached a residential area, police say.
A file photo of a cougar. A woman spotted a cougar while in Latoria Creek Park on Friday. TIMES COLONIST FILE PHOTO

West Shore RCMP are warning the public after a woman made a 911 call about 5:40 p.m. Friday saying she had been followed by a cougar in Latoria Creek Park.

She was out for a run in the park, located at Latoria Road and Veterans Memorial Parkway near Olympic View Golf Course, and had just reached the bottom of the park stairs when she spotted a cougar several metres away, police said. She immediately made an emergency call.

The woman was wearing a head lamp, which police said might have been what attracted the cougar in the late-afternoon darkness.

The call taker advised her to stay calm, talk to the cougar in a gentle voice and not turn her back on the animal. She was then advised to walk backward up the stairs and go to the nearest home.

The cougar followed the woman up the stairs but left once she got close to residences.

A resident let her into a home in the 400-block of Pelican Drive.

“The call taker did an amazing job and obtained necessary details of the woman’s whereabouts, immediately dispatching officers to the area,” said Cpl. Nancy Saggar. “The call taker then remained on the line with the woman, keeping her calm and providing life-saving guidance and directing her to seek safe shelter.”

Police patrolled the area but no cougar was found. The B.C. Conservation Officer Service and the City of Colwood were also contacted.

Recent reports of cougar sightings include a pair in Victoria in September: one in Beacon Hill Park and one in Fairfield.

The Beacon Hill Park sighting was made by a pedicab driver who said he saw a cougar run into the woods in the early evening after getting within about 15 metres of him. He rang the bell on his pedicab and blasted the Beach Boys Surfin’ U.S.A. on its stereo to keep the cougar at bay.

The Fairfield sighting was made by woman out for a morning walk with her dog on Thurlow Street. The cougar then disappeared into a bushy area bordering Fairfield Road.

No cougar was located in either instance.

In April, the Conservation Officer Service issued a warning after a string of four cougar attacks on dogs in East Sooke, Metchosin and Sooke. One dog was killed.

Three of the attacks were in the daytime in the backyards of rural residences.


Anyone approached by a cougar is advised to stay calm and pick up children or small pets, then back away slowly to give the animal an escape route.

Make yourself appear as large as you can and always keep the cougar in front of you.

Should you be followed, make eye contact, show your teeth and make loud noises.

In the event of an attack, use whatever is around as a weapon — such as rocks, sticks or personal belongings — while focusing on the cougar’s face and eyes. The idea is to convey to the cougar that you are a threat rather than prey.

To report a cougar sighting, call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

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