VANCOUVER, BC—Around 400 people were forced to evacuate from a prominent Downtown Vancouver nightclub in the early hours of Monday morning, after a wild cougar wandered in and attacked several patrons.
Eight people were treated for injuries sustained during the rampage, all of them men aged between 19 and 24. Experts believe the cougar likely came down from the North Shore mountains hunting for fresh meat, a common trait amongst cougars native to the area.
CCTV footage shows the cougar entered the Granville St. establishment at approximately 1:54am while security were distracted by another cougar, a suspected accomplice. The cougar’s apparent staggering suggests it was possibly unaware of where it was going, according to the Vancouver Police Department.
Once inside, it’s believed a group of young men, said to be highly inebriated, spotted the cougar and began calling it to come over to them.
“Out of nowhere the cougar just lunged at one of the boys,” one eyewitness told CTV News. Luckily the young man managed to evade her unscathed, but without breaking stride she simply turned on the next closest guy to her.
Within seconds the entire club was in chaos as people desperately scrambled for the exits. “That thing just kept lunging at all the guys. It just seemed so desperate,” one shocked patron explained. “It was so scary and the last thing you’d expect to see in this club.”
Gloria Lee, a biologist at UBC, says the breed of cougar native to the North Shore Mountains have become so desperate for a mate that they wander into downtown Vancouver, usually after their partners have abandoned them for months at a time:
“During this time of the year especially, it is common for older females from North and West Vancouver particularly to come to densely populated areas in the hopes of attracting a mate,” she told the BSJ. “However increasingly more and more cougars are also coming from the Kitsilano and Point Grey areas.”
“Often times they hunt in packs, but females have been known to attack one another, when claiming a mate or marking their territory,” she said, adding that the cougar was last seen in the West Van area collecting sushi and a large bottle of wine.
In response to the incident, the nightclub in question released a statement reassuring patrons that this was an isolated incident. “The Roxy Cabaret did not become Vancouver’s #1 nightclub by being associated with cougars,” an official tweet read.