Late Monday night, my next-door neighbor spotted a cougar on the patch of lawn in front of the townhouse across the street from us on Rockland Avenue. She had intended to move her vehicle from her property to my street (Pentrelew) around the corner, but the cougar – which did not appear frightened by the sudden presence of a human and instead stared her down – changed her mind.
A passing jogger said that he had just passed the hedge in front of The Laurels (a former mansion converted to apartments – and yes, the hedge is laurel), and that the hedge had been shaking violently. The Laurels is directly across a narrow lane that leads to Langham Court Theatre (the lane separates The Laurels and the townhouse where the cougar was seen).
The jogger assumed some animal like a raccoon was in the branches, but then realized it must have been the cougar. After some time, the cougar continued down Rockland and disappeared down the alley that runs behind Linden Street.
We live 3 blocks outside the official downtown/ Harris Green border. Our neighborhood (Rockland and Fairfield) has a population density of several thousand people per square kilometer. But we’re also infested with deer – and we have plenty of rats and raccoons. I’m not surprised that predators move in where there is prey to be found – and somehow I can’t help but think it’s the deer that are really drawing them. I’m not sure why we continue to tolerate deer around here – it’s not exactly a rural scene.
More local stories about recent cougar sightings:
Cougar Sighting (June 30, 2010: this one is from the Westshore; the cougar was seen at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre)
Reports of cougar sighting in Oak Bay (July 27, 2010; Oak Bay is contiguous with Fairfield; the area described is hardly “densely wooded,” if that’s supposed to suggest a forest – there is nowhere you can stand in Walbran Park without seeing a house)
Cougar spotted in Saanich this morning (Aug.15, 2010; Saanich is the next municipality over; it has less populated areas, but is mostly built up and densely populated)
Joggers unworried by cougar sighting along Elk Lake trails (Aug.24, 2010; Elk Lake is in Saanich, a bit further away from downtown Victoria)
You can almost discern a pattern here: from the “wilder” Westshore with its easy access to the Sooke Hills; to Saanich / Oak Bay, with its increasing proliferation of rabbits at the University of Victoria and deer everywhere; to Fairfield/ Rockland and basically downtown Victoria.
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