Tragic ending for Penticton cougar and three cubs

Penticton resident Mike Hanley says he took this photo of three cougars near his home on Cleland Drive, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. Conservation officers were forced to destroy three cougar cubs today, Jan 17, 2017 and are hunting their mother after attempts to force them back into the wild failed.
Image Credit: Mike Hanley

PENTICTON - It was a story Penticton conservation officers hoped would have a happy ending, but it turned out not to be the case as they were forced to put down three juvenile cougars.

Conservation officer Jim Beck says officers were forced to kill the animals in the upper reaches of Penticton Avenue earlier today, Jan. 17, after officers realized the animals had become too habituated to the urban environment. Conservation officers to hunt for the cougar cubs’ mother with plans to put her down as well.

Beck says they tried to work with the animals, but “it just wasn’t working.”

Conservation officers had been attempting to lure the cougars back to the wild since Friday, when they were photographed under a Basham Court deck.

On Saturday, officers located another kill in a Basham Court backyard. The cats returned that night to feed on the kill, and when officers returned to the residence the next morning, a resident noticed the female cougar was actively stalking his dog, which elevated the public safety risk, Beck says.

On Monday evening, officer discovered a fresh kill along a walking trail near Forestbrook Drive.

Officers put tracking hounds on the cougars' trail this morning and found them in the upper Penticton Avenue area.

“Due to her propensity to come into developed areas like she was doing, teaching the juveniles to do the same thing, we elected to dispatch the juveniles, and the mother, but the adult cougar jumped from the tree and ran,” says Beck.

“It’s terrible. It’s unfortunate, but the real unfortunate side of things is this cougar was teaching her juveniles to basically not be afraid of people and to hunt right in amongst people," he says. "Next year we would end up with four adult cats doing the same thing this one was doing."


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