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Cougar spotted in Qualicum Beach

A cougar was spotted in Qualicum Beach Wednesday morning. Reports of cougars, and cougar attacks, have been prominent in the news on Vancouver Island of late. - Thinkstock
A cougar was spotted in Qualicum Beach Wednesday morning. Reports of cougars, and cougar attacks, have been prominent in the news on Vancouver Island of late.
— image credit: Thinkstock

A local cougar sighting is a good reminder to be alert.

Melanie Sturgeon was on her way to work in Qualicum Beach Wednesday morning when she ran across a cougar in the middle of town.

"I was driving to work at 7:25 this morning, driving up Laburnum I turned onto Jones and saw what I thought was a deer," she described.

She saw it jump over a fence out of someone's yard on the east side of Jones Street, cross the road just a few feet in front of her and run into the woods by the graveyard and water tower.

"She was a big cat, a nice big healthy one," she told The News shortly after seeing the cougar, still amazed by the experience - she'd only ever seen one in a zoo before.

"She was obviously scared, taking off from something," Sturgeon said, describing the cougar as running away, but not panicking.

Concerned about seniors out for an early morning walk, especially next door to the Eagle Park residential care facility, she called the conservation officer service.

The News has not reached the conservation office for further details yet.

There have been several stories involving cougars in recent weeks including a woman being attacked on her sofa by an emaciated cougar in Trail last weekend, an attack on a seven-year-old boy near Sproat Lake near Port Alberni a couple weeks ago and more than 10 farm animals being killed in the Saanich area in the last couple weeks alone.

If you see a cougar, be as big and loud as possible, wave sticks or throw things to scare them off. Gather children close and try to keep eye contact with the animal while backing out the way you came.

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