September 29, 2014 - 1:30 PM
VERNON - Conservation officers shot three cougars stalking household pets in the BX area of Vernon, but remain on the lookout for a fourth cat still at large.
Terry Myroniuk, with the B.C. Conservation Service, says officers were called out Sept. 21 after the first cougar killed a dog. The owner had let her dog out that morning, but it never came back.
“The woman was shocked when the missing dog’s carcass fell out of a tree,” Myroniuk says.
She looked up and saw a roughly 80 pound cougar perched in the tree. Conservation officers were immediately called to the scene where they shot the cougar.
A couple days later on Sept. 23 a different resident on the same road reported seeing a cougar in his yard.
“The individual was on his deck and his dogs started barking,” Myroniuk says. “The cougar was crouched down stalking towards his dogs.”
The resident initially scared the cougar away, but when it and another returned to the area, conservation officers were called in again and forced to shot them.
Myroniuk says the cougars exhibited a learned behaviour where they targeted household pets and livestock. Relocation wasn’t an option, as the cougars would likely continue hunting pets wherever they went, he says. There’s a good chance the three, one-year-old cougars were siblings traveling as a group.
The conservation service believes there’s at least one adult cougar still at large in the area. It’s been spotted a few times, but officers are asking the public to report any other sightings.
“It’s been a challenge because it’s moved around so much,” Myroniuk says.
Officers can’t lay out traps until they have a better idea of where the cougar is. The public is advised to keep a close eye on pets, and bring them in at night. The risk to human safety is considered low at this point.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014