Saanich Police consider a cougar sighting near the Uptown area early Sunday morning credible.
Cst. Greg Hebig of Saanich Police said police received the report some 20 minutes after midnight, with the animal seen crossing Blanshard Street near Saanich Road. Saanich Police neither said from which direction the animal came nor in which direction it travelled.
“Police searched the area but were unable to locate the cougar, however, it was felt to be a credible sighting,” said Hebig.
BC Conservation Service also received notice of the sighting, but it is not clear whether it responded to the scene.
If confirmed, the presence of a cougar at a major urban intersection, albeit in the early morning hours, would represent an unusual occurrence, as cougar sightings have historically occurred in rural or semi-rural areas. The area around Blanshard Street near Saanich Road is near one of the busiest and most populated intersections in the region.
This said, Victoria Police in April asked the public to avoid the 100-block of Gorge Road East after a confirmed cougar sighting during daylight hours.
Authorities have in the past asked members of the public to phone their local police department or conservation at 1-877-952-7277 to report a sighting or encounter with a cougar.