3 cougar sightings in the Victoria area in 24 hours

The cougar was tranquilized in downtown Victoria on Monday.
This cougar was tranquilized in downtown Victoria last Monday. Kylie Stanton / Global News

People living in the Victoria area are being warned about cougars. In the past 24 hours there have been three reported sightings and officials say it is likely the same animal.

Last week, one of the big cats led police and conservation officers on a chase through the downtown core.

Wildlife experts are now speaking out, explaining why they think there’s been a spike in encounters. Officials say they’re coming in search of food.

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Oak Bay, in particular, seems to have enough food for the cougars. A deer cull initiated last February resulted in only 11 being removed from the area.

“Cougars are most active between dusk and dawn,” said conservation officer Scott Norris. “However, when you get a cougar in an area like this they may become desperate, they want to get away from the area. They’re secretive animals, they want to get away from people so you never know when one is going to pop out and make a run for it to try and find some more cover.”

“The cougars are just doing what normal cougars do, they’re just looking for more territory.”

WATCH: Vancouver Island’s rise in cougar interactions: