06/26/2012 03:16 EDT | Updated 08/26/2012 05:12 EDT

Saanich, B.C. Cougar Spotted Prowling Grounds Near Victoria-Area Prison

SAANICH, B.C. - The Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre appeared to have some additional — but unwelcome — security Tuesday prowling around the grounds of the Victoria-area facility.

Corrections officers spotted a large cougar in a wooded area near the prison's perimeter in the early morning hours.

Saanich police say the cougar disappeared by the time they arrived, but the sighting was confirmed on videotape from the centre's surveillance system.

Police say they want to warn local residents that the large cat has been seen in the area.

Conservation officers weren't called in because police say the cougar appeared to be exhibiting normal behaviour and was in its usual habitat.

The almost 100-year-old prison serves as a pre-trial and remand unit for inmates of all levels of risk and holds up to 350 inmates.