Cougar shot, another at large, after woman charged in Langford, B.C.
Conservation officers say they may have killed the wrong cougar, after a second cat was seen in the area
A day after a cougar was killed for apparently stalking a woman on a trail near Victoria, conservation officers say another cougar sighted may actually have been responsible.
Conservation officer Peter Pauwels hunted down and euthanized the cougar that was thought to have lunged at a woman on the Galloping Goose Trail just before 6 a.m. PT. on Monday.
Pauwels said the cougar's apparent aggressive and predatory behaviour forced them to kill it, after tracking dogs were used to locate the animal.
"Absolutely no choice in this one, no choice whatsoever. With this cougar hanging around the trail, it really doesn't get any more dangerous than that for potentially what could have happened," said Pauwels.
But on Tuesday Pauwels said he wasn't sure if he killed the right cat, after a second cougar was also spotted in the busy neighbourhood.
"One of them is now dead and the other one, we believe, has moved out of the area. We're waiting to see if any more sightings come in," said Pauwels.
Langford resident Amy Harris, who lives close to the Galloping Goose Trail, spotted the second cougar outside her home around 7 p.m. on Monday.
"[I was] totally surprised. I actually stopped and froze, it was very surreal," she said, asking herself, "Am I really seeing that? Am I really seeing a gigantic cat in my backyard?"
Harris said her children were safe and the cougar was not aggressive. It eventually headed for a wilderness area.
"I actually got to stop and enjoy the moment for a second," said Harris. "It was kind of magic and amazing, but terrifying at the same time too."
Harris said she hadn't been very concerned about cougars previously, but this sighting changed all that. Pauwels said conservation officers are also worried.
"I'd say we're moderately concerned about it because we don't know which cougar was actually involved in the stalking incident."
Pauwels said although it is unusual to see two cougars together, it can happen, usually when a mother cougar is staying with her kittens or two young cougar siblings are travelling together.
The Galloping Goose Trail is a former railway track that has been converted to a regional walking and biking trail for the Victoria area.