A cougar has been shot by police officers in Esquimalt Sunday night.
The animal was spotted in the 600-block of Fernhill Road in Esquimalt across from the Esquimalt Plaza and Bullen Park just before 9 p.m.
It was reported by a mother walking with her children, about 200 metres from Rock Heights School.
Investigators with Victoria Police contacted the BC Conservation Office, which indicated that tranquilizing and relocating the animal was not an option.
The 100-pound male cougar, who was around 18 to 20-months old, was dispatched by the officers with a single gun shot.
Conservation Officer Peter Pauwels told Global News there is a provincial policy in place not to relocate large carnivores, including cougars.
“If we do attend, our only option would be to either allow the cougar to leave or euthanize it,” Pauwels said.
Pauwels said since the cougar was spotted in the heart of Esquimalt, close to an elementary school, the decision was made to shoot the animal.
“In that sort of a situation, from my experience, it could take quite a while for that cougar to find a way out of there. In the meantime, you’ve got it going through people’s backyards and it can go on for weeks,” Pauwels said. “You just can’t have that.”