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Cougar sighting prompts brief ‘hold and secure’ at West Shore elementary school

Doors were locked at Eagle View Elementary for about an hour Wednesday
A cougar sighting prompted a short ‘hold and secure’ at a West Shore elementary school Wednesday (Jan. 11). (Black Press Media file photo)

A cougar sighting spurred a short “hold and secure” pattern for a View Royal elementary school midday Wednesday (Jan. 11).

School District 61 used social media to alert the community that Eagle View was in a “hold and secure” shortly after 11 a.m. Classes continued as usual with doors locked awaiting the all clear from West Shore RCMP.

A “hold and secure” is used when there is an ongoing situation outside a school with the exterior doors locked until the situation is resolved. In this instance, it was lifted shortly after noon.

READ ALSO: Conservation officer expects to see more cougars in urban areas

Anyone who encounters a cougar should stay calm and keep it in view, picking up small children and pets, according to a fact sheet from the BC Conservation Service.

Back away slowly and ensure the animal has a clear avenue of escape. Make yourself look as large as possible keeping the cougar in front of you at all times.

Never run or turn your back on a cougar, sudden movement may provoke an attack

If a cougar shows interest or follows, respond aggressively, maintain eye contact, show your teeth and make loud noise. Arm yourself with rocks or sticks as weapons.

If a cougar attacks, fight back, convince the cougar you are a threat and not prey. Focus your attack on the cougar’s face and eyes. Use rocks, sticks, bear spray or personal belongings as weapons. You are trying to convince the cougar that you are a threat, and are not prey.

Contact the conservation service call centre at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) if a cougar poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety.


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