Days after British Columbia conservation officers warned of an increase in cougar sightings in the Squamish area, one of the wild cats attacked a young girl Tuesday night.
Emergency crews were called to the Eagle Run Drive and Maple Crescent area just before 7 p.m. A medical helicopter was also initially called, but the girl's injuries proved to be less serious than first thought. She's expected to survive.
"The patient was transported on a routine basis to the Squamish hospital," Kristy Hillen of the B.C. Ambulance Service told The Canadian Press.
Officials couldn't confirm how old the girl is, although a local radio station said she was three years old.
CTV cameras spotted conservation officers searching the area, just off the Sea to Sky Highway. Hounds have been called in to help track the cat, which will be killed, Ministry of Environment spokesman Matt Gordon said.
Over the past week, there had been a spike in cougar sightings near Squamish, a small coastal community about 50 kilometres north of Vancouver. Last Friday, two Vancouver women were hiking with their dogs on the Stawamus Chief Trail when a cougar leapt from the bushes, grabbed a miniature pinscher and killed it, CTV reported.
Another dog was attacked soon after, and officers believe one cat was responsible for the attacks. That cougar was killed by officers.
"We know that in the last few days there have been a few sightings in the area and conservation officers have been trying to track the animals. And here we are now," Mr. Gordon said Tuesday night.
Squamish RCMP refused to comment on the case.