Big cat eludes capture

A cougar in Port McNeill prompts the lockdown of a child care centre.

PORT McNEILL—A cougar treed in the local trailer park prompted the lockdown of a nearby child care centre before the big cat eluded RCMP and the Conservation Officer Service Tuesday at about noon.

Port McNeill RCMP was contacted shortly before 11 a.m. by a resident of the trailer park who reported a cougar in a tree in the park.

“Apparently the daughter of the family up the street was playing outside,” said Carmen Mitchell, a resident in the trailer park. “She ran one way and the cougar ran the other way.”

RCMP and local conservation officer Tanner Beck responded, and when a cougar was confirmed in the tree officers notified the nearby Little Stars Child Care Center and closed the small park just above the neighbourhood.

“We’re locked down,” said Kendra Sharpe of Little Stars. “The officer came up and asked if we wouldn’t mind bringing the kids inside.”

At some point during the standoff, the cougar made its way down the tree and scampered away through a wooded area.

“I didn’t see the cougar, but you could see the boughs moving as it came down the tree,” Mitchell said. “They’re telling everyone around here to be very aware.”