A young adult cougar was spotted on a path leading to the Englishman River Estuary at about 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, May 1, 2018. — Gary Walinga photo

Cougar spotted on Parksville trail

Big cat seen near Englishman River estuary Tuesday morning

An area resident was surprised when he came upon a young adult cougar while hiking out of the Englishman River estuary toward Mills Road in Parksville Tuesday morning, May 1, 2018.

Gary Walinga was walking out of the estuary toward town when he spied the big cat, which was walking away from him along the same trail. When the cougar turned to look to one side, Walinga snapped a quick photo.

“I just came upon him; he was looking for prey,” Walinga said. “He walked away from me, and I let him go.”

Walinga said he continued on the path around the next bend and saw the cougar one more time before the cat noticed him and sprinted away, he said.

The pathway is a popular link between a Parksville residential area and the estuary and beach.

“People use it to walk their dogs all the time,” said Walinga, who said he just wanted to alert residents to the cougar’s proximity to the city.

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