Since the beginning of the month, the community of Princeton, B.C., has had three close calls with hungry cougars. It was a chance for campers to get better look at one of the animals that came dangerously close to people and apparently showed no fear.

One of the cougars was seen stalking children across the river from where local people had gathered in a campground.

When Rhonda Harrison heard about the cougar, she hurried over with camera, capturing the animal before and after it was destroyed.

"In all my years I have never personally seen or had the chance of taking pictures of one,'' she said.

Jim Rohl also got his first up-close look at a cougar recently, right outside his back door.

"It was sort of unsettling,'' he said.

On July 10, he spotted the animal just across this river, and not far from two young girls.

"It was crouching slinking through underbrush, it was definitely stalking them,'' he said.

"I started yelling at the girl [to warn her that] there is a cougar there, and come to the other side. I started throwing rocks at it,'' he said.

But he says the cougar didn't run away. Eventually his neighbour came out and shot it.

"It wasn't scared at all, even after girls got out of river it stayed. There was no fear of humans at all."

The next day, a third cougar was shot and killed next to a local park. Conservation officer Al Lay says all three animals were young, and were probably still learning to hunt on their own.

"Attacks don't happen very often,'' Lay said. "We don't want people to panic, there isn't a cougar behind every tree by any means,'' he said.

But Conservation officers are advising people to be aware of the type of wild animals that might be living in their neighbourhood and take precautions

With a report by CTV British Columbia's Maria Weisgarber