There is nothing to suggest that the 22-year-old man who was found dead on a forestry road near Koksilah River Provincial Park on July 20 was attacked by a cougar.
Andy Watson, from the BC Coroners Service, said it’s still early in the investigation and the authorities have not yet determined or released the cause of death.
But he said media reports that the man was killed by a cougar are mere speculation.
A spokesman for the Shawnigan Lake RCMP detachment has said the man was dropped off to explore a cave near the park at about 7 p.m. on Wednesday, and when he had not returned by the designated time of 8:30 p.m., the RCMP and Cowichan Search and Rescue were called and efforts to locate the man were launched.
Rescue operations were called off at 1 p.m. and resumed early Thursday morning.
The man was found near the cave at about 11 a.m. on Thursday.
Rescue crews had reported that they encountered a large cougar during their search for the man that was not easily scared off.
“We never speculate on a cause of death so early in an investigation, but with the media reports about a cougar attack now going viral, it’s important that we point out that there is no evidence to suggest that,” Watson said.
“Other than that, we have no further information on this case at this time.”