COURTENAY, B.C- People are being warned to avoid the woods in northwest Courtenay after a cougar was spotted today.

According to School District 71, the animal was seen near Lake Trail Middle School along Willemar Avenue in Courtenay.

The public is now being told to avoid the wooded areas around Lake Trail Middle School, Ecole Puntledge Park and Arden Elementary.

Conservation officers were notified immediately of the cougar sighting and conducted a search but have not located the animal, according to the school district.

“On the direction of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, the school district is recommending students and families avoid these areas for the next couple days as they continue their search,” read the district’s announcement.

“Schools will continue classroom instruction and signage has been posted on the grounds around each school as an additional reminder to staff, students, families, and visitors to be vigilant and avoid the wooded areas. As more information becomes available it will be shared with our school communities.”

Anyone who spots wildlife in the community that could pose a threat to safety should contact the conservation service at 1-877-952- 7277 or #7277 on the Telus Network.