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Updated: Cougar sighting in Lake Cowichan

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The Town of Lake Cowichan is on alert after a cougar sighting Tuesday near downtown.

Lake Cowichan RCMP issued a warning Wednesday after a report made at about 8:30 p.m.

"A lady walking her dog came upon what she believed was a young cougar on the Ted Burns Nature Preserve trail between Saywell Park (Kaatza Museum) and Point Ideal Road," Const. Bruce Coles says in the release.

"Lake Cowichan RCMP members walked through the area but did not locate the animal. The B.C. Conservation Service was notified and will be checking the location further.

"The Lake Cowichan RCMP wish to caution the public about using this trail, or other trails in the area, and to be on the look out for bears and cougars."

Conservation officer Scott Norris, stressed Tuesday's sighting of a cougar was unconfirmed.

It's common for the naturally shy creatures to be spotted during dusk and dawn hours, when they generally hunt critters such as deer, raccoons, even elk, he explained.

But seeing a mountain lion during daylight hours could spell trouble, he warned, adding the big cats will be killed if acting strangely or threatening people.

"With a sighting of a cat during nothing wrong, we let it go back to nature," he said, unable to quote exact cougar numbers on the island.

Last year saw two attacks on folks on remote islands off Vancouver Island.

"They will go after people but it's not common — they usually go after pets," Norris said.

If you meet a cougar, Do Not Run, make yourself look larger, toss rocks or sticks at it, and get to safety, Norris advised.

Police request any further bear or cougar sightings can be reported to the B.C. Conservation Service at 250-746-1236, or the Lake Cowichan detachment at 250-749-6668.

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