NEWS
08/30/2011 01:10 EDT | Updated 10/30/2011 05:12 EDT

Cougar Attacks Toddler In Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim National Park

UCLUELET, B.C. - An 18-month old child is recovering in hospital after a cougar attack inside Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Rene Wissink, manager of resource conservation at the park, said the attack occurred at about 6 p.m. Monday on the beach of a popular day-use area at Kennedy Lake, some 16 kilometres east of the community of Ucluelet.

Wissink said the child's family appears to have done everything right to scare off the animal.

"When the attack occurred, they stood their ground, they made a lot of noise, they frightened the cat off right away so the contact was very, very brief," he said.

He said the child is now receiving medical attention but he had no information on the child's injuries, gender or hospital.

Wissink said park officials are currently trying to track down the animal.

"We do, at the moment, have several teams out including a dog team which is attempting to locate this cougar which when found will be destroyed as a result of the public safety threat that it poses."

Four conservation officers and a volunteer dog team are currently on the ground assisting park officials, said a spokesperson for the B.C. Ministry of Environment.

A wolf and cougar advisory has been in effect in the region since August 13 because of increased activity by predators in the area.

Wissink said a cougar approached a jogger on a local road on Aug. 1, and about one week later a cougar was destroyed in Ucluelet.

The Kennedy Lake day use area is closed to the public for now.