September 18, 2015 - 4:30 PM
PENTICTON - Penticton conservation officers are on the lookout for a cougar that killed domestic livestock in the Grand Oro Road area earlier this week.
Conservation officer Jim Beck says the cougar is suspected of killing a goat just south of Twin Lakes, reported Sept. 15. Conservation officers visited the site and determined it was a cougar attack on a domestic goat, then set traps in the vicinity to try and catch the cat.
“We usually get them overnight, depending on how much they have fed,” Beck says, “if they feed heavily, they may not come back the next night.”
Conservation officers set up trail cams near the carcass and the traps. Video from the camera shows the cougar returning to the site of the kill the following night.
“The cat had difficulty getting over the fence, then for some reason did not reclaim the kill,” says Beck, adding if the cougar made a wildlife kill in the meantime, it might have decided to turn its nose up at its domestic kill. Beck says conservation officers pulled the traps Sept. 17.
The carcass was also removed to keep it from rotting and attracting other predators like bears.
Beck says a sheep was killed by a cat in the same location last year. Conservation officers caught the cougar the following night, however.
Beck says changes in the natural environment, such as a dip in deer population, sometimes causes predatory animals to go after domestic animals. It can be a combination of things such as location and downturns in the population of prey species that cause cougars to go after livestock. He's concerned when cougars begin stalking farm animals, although Beck says some cougars would starve rather than resort to domestic prey. Most tend to seek what they have been taught, to go after native prey such as rabbits, skunks, and deer. Domestic stock isn’t normally part of their diet, he says.
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