January 07, 2014 - 8:44 AM
VERNON - Another cougar is posing safety concerns in Coldstream just days after two were killed by conservation officers in the same area.
Sgt. Josh Lockwood with the North Okanagan conservation service says they received five reports of a cougar in the Postil Drive area of Coldstream over the weekend.
“A resident got pictures of it within 100 yards of the Coldstream Elementary School building,” Lockwood says.
On Sunday, conservation officers set live capture traps (baited cages) in a ravine within a nearby green belt area by Postil Road.
This morning, officers patrolled the area while students walked to school. Today, they are giving educational talks in Coldstream and Kidston Elementary School classrooms, informing teachers and students about cougar safety. Students will still enjoy recess outdoors, but there will be plenty of supervision.
“We’re also asking parents to be diligent and send kids to school in groups and stay out of green belt areas,” Lockwood says. “Hopefully we can resolve this soon, or it will resolve itself and (the cougar) won’t come back.”
Relocation is not an option, due to the territorial nature of cougars and uncertainty of sufficient food sources in new areas.
“It’ll either starve to death or be killed by another cat,” Lockwood says.
The latest cougar is part of a string of recent sightings. The first was trapped and put down Friday after being seen in residents’ yards, and the second, a young male in poor condition, was shot Saturday after killing two goats and attacking a dog.
Lockwood says part of the problem is people feeding deer in the Coldstream area.
“People attract deer into the community by feeding them, at the same time they’re attracting predators as well,” Lockwood says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014