The popular trails around Capilano River in West Vancouver were closed for several hours as a conservation officer tracked and killed a cougar believed to be a threat to the community.

Multiple cougar sightings have been reported in recent weeks along the Capilano River near Park Royal Mall, but the cougar had become bolder in recent days.

The big cat was seen jumping on people’s balconies in a townhouse complex in British Properties Wednesday.

Officials say things came to a head Thursday morning when the cougar approached someone walking their dogs on a trail.

“Fortunately the dogs were big enough and loud enough to scare it,” said Conservation Officer Simon Gravel.

The dog walkers contacted West Vancouver Police, who secured the area until Gravel arrived.

The cougar hadn’t moved from the area, Gravel said, adding that it showed no fear whatsoever of humans. He shot and killed the big cat.

“We killed it because we’re worried about that type of behaviour,” he said. “It was hunting in a residential area. The potential of it hurting a child in a backyard or that kind of thing is a very real possibility.”

Cougar sightings are common around West Vancouver, and the Capilano River, but the animals are normally timid and only seen during the night or in the very early morning.

In nearby Port Moody, residents of a townhouse complex received notices that a cougar was recently spotted near an elementary school on Heritage Mountain.

And a trio of cougars, believed to be a mama and her two cubs, were caught on surveillance footage at the Mossom Creek Salmon Hatchery.

The B.C. Environment Ministry urges people to stay calm if they encounter a cougar and always keep it in view.

It says people should never run or turn their back because sudden movement can provoke an attack. Respond aggressively with loud noises, and fight back if you’re attacked.

Anyone who sees a cougar in an urban area is urged to call the RAP hotline at 1-877-952-7277