COURTENAY, B.C- Police and conservation officers in the Comox Valley killed three cougars on the weekend.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Environment, the RCMP were contacted on Saturday about a cougar that was on a man’s property, and had killed one of his lambs. The caller had shot at the cat, and believed they had hit it in the hindquarters.
After being shot, the cougar had run off. The RCMP responded to the scene and notified the Conservation Officer Service (COS).
Once at the property, the responding officer walked behind the lamb pen and found two cougars still on-scene, believed to be juveniles. Both were killed.
Neither of the two cats were found to be wounded, and it was believed that a larger, adult female was still present and potentially wounded.
The next morning, COS came to the property with hounds. Assessing the scene, they found one lamb had been killed, and a pet donkey had suffered a minor scratch to its ear. The statement indicated that the donkey had likely defended the other livestock against the cougar, and been injured in the process.
The condition of the lamb and donkey pen, as well as the fence, was found to be good. However, the risk to the landowner was higher due to the pen’s location next to the house, and the predator’s hunting of livestock near the residence.
As the responding conservation officer came to the property at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, an adult cougar was seen twice on the access road, around 120 metres from the caller’s house. The cougar returned while the officer was present, and stayed despite the barking of tracking hounds.
“When the hounds and CO approached the cougar, it did not run,” read the statement.
“It simply crouched down and watched from a distance of 20 metres. This behaviour was not normal, and the CO had little doubt this cougar was involved with the livestock conflict last night. The adult female cougar was killed by COS.”
No previous gunshot wounds were observed on the cougar.
No-one from the COS was available for an interview at the time of publication.