VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Up to three cougars have been regularly spotted in Surrey’s Clayton Heights neighbourhood which has people, especially parents of small children, worried.

Steve Larson lives in the area and has two young children at a nearby elementary school.

He says a number of parents are keeping their kids indoors.

“It has to go actually right by my son’s school. A lot of the people out here are quite nervous,” says Larson.

Conservation officer Jack Trudgian confirmed the presence of the cougars but says they only intervene if there’s a public safety issue.

“We have to consider the risk. I mean if it’s hanging around somewhere and say pets are starting to disappear and stuff, we don’t want the animal to get off their natural food source.”

In this case, there’s a ravine with a large deer population nearby.

Unlike bears, which can be trapped and relocated, cougars immediately return to the area. They can only be left alone or shot, which is a last resort.

Trudgian says the sightings aren’t out of the ordinary but that’s not enough for some parents like Larson, who has even stopped walking his Boxer near the patch of woods where the big cats are lurking.

“Conservation (officers) said what to do if you see a cougar but come on guys, am I going to have to wait to peel it off my kids back?”

If you see a cougar, don’t run and make your presence known.

You can report any sightings to a 24-hour hotline 1-877-952-7277.