An elusive cougar that swam to Protection Island near Nanaimo, killed a deer there and had residents on high alert over the holiday season has apparently left the same way it came.
A live trap set up on the island by the Conservation Officer Service is expected to removed on Thursday morning.
The service said it hasn’t received any recent sightings and there has been no activity around the baited trap.
Resident David Essig, who was co-ordinating communications with residents through social media, said conservation officers suspect the killing of a raccoon in Departure Bay on Tuesday morning is the work of the same cougar that was on Protection.
The big cat had been roaming the island since prior to Christmas and was captured on two separate doorbell cameras, one showing the cougar climbing over a deck gate just a metre from the front door.
Residents feared for pets and small children and many were warned not to walk alone on the 70-hectare island. The island, which is less than 1.5 kilometres from Nanaimo’s downtown, has about 360 properties and is connected to city water and sewer.
A Facebook page set up by island residents said the cougar likely arrived a day or two before Christmas and killed a deer.
A statement from the Conservation Officer Service last month said cougars are common on Vancouver Island and have been known to swim to smaller islands “from time to time.”