January 03, 2014 - 9:36 AM
VERNON - Conservation officers have trapped and put down a cougar in Coldstream.
Sgt. Josh Lockwood with the North Okanagan conservation service says the cougar was put down at 6 a.m. after getting caught in a leg-hold trap. Yesterday, conservation officers set five such traps in a ravine where the cougar had been hunting.
Since Boxing Day, conservation officers received seven complaints about the cougar in the Kidston Road and Kinloch Drive area, near Kalamalka Lake Park. On January 2, it was seen in a Coldstream woman’s back yard. Lockwood believes the cougar was living in Kal Park and coming out at night to hunt. He says they wouldn’t have pursued it if it had stayed in Kal Park.
“It’s not unusual to see a cougar in the park, it’s a wildlife space. The public needs to be diligent walking through there. It’s not something we’d remove until it comes into the community.”
The cougar didn’t kill any pets or domesticated animals, but Lockwood says it was a safety concern for it to be in the community.
It’s a time of year when the conservation service starts responding to a higher number of cougar complaints, partly because deer, cougars’ primary food source, are migrating into the valley bottoms, Lockwood says.
As soon as they wrapped up with the Coldstream cougar this morning, conservation officers were off to Salmon Arm to deal with another one that had killed a lama.
“If it’s in the community and there’s conflict, we have to remove it,” Lockwood says.
If you encounter a cougar, be aggressive, be loud, and make yourself look as big as possible. If you frequent wildlife areas, it might be a good idea to bring bear spray, as it also works on cougars. You can find more information about cougars on the WildSafe B.C. website.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at email@example.com, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014