VICTORIA -- Dog walkers and beachcombers need to be on the alert after a cougar was spotted near Island View Beach in Central Saanich.

On June 16, police responded after they received a call that the big cat had been seen in a field in the 3100-block of Island View Road. The caller told police he saw the cougar at the end of his driveway at about 7:30 p.m. When police arrived there was no sign of the cat.

“The sighting lasted for no more than about 10 or 15 seconds and then the cougar moved on,” said Central Saanich police Sgt. Paul Brailey. “It’s likely it went through the area and then disappeared.”

Officers advised beach-goers and others at the Island View Beach campground that there was a confirmed cougar sighting approximately 300 metres from the popular Saanich Peninsula beach. It was the second cougar sighting in the area in the past week.

“This was in daylight hours and there were people in the area,” said Brailey. “There’s sightings all around Central Saanich and we have never had any issues with interactions with people.”

Police advise the public that if you encounter a cougar, you should remain calm, raise your arms to make yourself look bigger, make noise and slowly back away. Police say you should never turn your back and run from a cougar.

“Always make sure the cougar has a space to escape,” said Brailey. “You don’t want to block it in so it becomes aggressive.”

Conservation officers are aware of the sighting and are monitoring the situation.