A cougar is on the prowl in popular Horth Hill Park.
"There have been two sightings reported," said Cpl. Chris Swain, media liaison for Sidney North Saanich RCMP. "Conservation Service is aware of it and they're monitoring as well."
With two credible sightings, RCMP and the Conservation Officer Service are warning residents to be aware in the park. The CRD parks department will also be putting signs up reminding park users of the cougar in the area.
Those who spot a cougar should stay calm and keep the cougar in view, according to Conservation literature. Pick up children immediately and back away slowly, ensuring that the animal has a clear avenue of escape. Make yourself as large as possible and keep the cougar in front of you at all times; never turn your back on a cougar.
Sudden movement may provoke an attack. If a cougar shows interest or follows you, respond aggressively. Maintain eye contact with the cougar, show your teeth and make loud noise. Arm yourself with rocks or sticks as weapons. Crouch down as little as possible when bending down to pick up things off of the ground.
If a cougar attacks, fight back. Convince the cougar you are a threat and not prey. Use anything you can as a weapon. Focus your attack on the cougar's face and eyes.
Park users should report sightings to the Sidney North Saanich RCMP 250-656-3931 or Conservation toll free at 1-877-952-7277.
"Let us know when or where you saw it and what it was doing," Swain said. They're also interested in knowing if any pets are missing in the Horth Hill area.
Learn more about cougar safety and awareness online at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/cos/info/wildlife_human_interaction/docs/cougars.html