Mounties were called out to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal early Wednesday morning to kill a cougar that was trapped under the cafeteria stairs.

RCMP Cpl. Chris Swain said that after several sightings of a cougar prowling around the North Saanich peninsula since last Thursday, the risk to public was too high not to act.

"Because the terminal was about to be opened to the public and all the safety concerns we've had the last five days, we decided we had to put this one down," said Swain.

RCMP would have normally waited for conservation officers but pressure to act was mounting. Ferry passengers would soon be arriving and because the cougar was in a confined space, the likelihood of the cat attacking was greater.

Officers said the cat's behaviour was unusual as cougars typically shy away from people, whereas this cat was spotted several times near homes.

Swain said that while there was no way to be certain, the cougar was most likely the same one spotted in the region.

A higher number of cougar sightings have been reported this year according to police in the area. Another wild cat was shot July 2 in Sidney.