Eric Blacha photo A Port Hardy resident lost his cat in what may be a tragic incident involving a cougar.

UPDATED: Cougar put down after Vancouver Island resident finds his decapitated cat

Conservation officers euthanize predator in Port Hardy Tuesday afternoon

Growing concern about a cougar in a northern Vancouver Island town took a grisly turn today when a man found the beheaded remains of his cat in the woods near his house.

Port Hardy’s Eric Blacha believes a cougar may have been responsible for his gruesome discovery in the wake of a series of sightings, a warning issued to area schoolchildren, and an incident where a neighbourhood chicken was also snatched by wildlife.

Blacha said he leashed his male cat, Cosmo, outside the front of his house near the Beaver Harbour trailer park at around 8 p.m., Oct. 22.

“I went to go check on him. I couldn’t find him or hear him and just kept checking on him,” he said. Blacha grew concerned for his white-furred pet. In an online post, he noted Cosmo was “gone all night which isn’t like him at all.”

This morning, after Blacha’s mother, Kathleen Gillis, spotted what she thinks may have been a cougar when starting her vehicle, Blacha ventured out into the nearby woods to search for Cosmo.

He encountered a small hole, which could have been dug by the cougar. He noticed “a clump of hair and kind of moved the dirt and sticks” and discovered the cat’s remains.

“He was headless,” Blacha said.

Conservation officers came early this morning, and, according to Blacha, they planned to send out a trained hound to track the predator. Jonathan Paquin, local conservation officer for the North Island, has since confirmed a cougar, which was located near Blacha’s residence, was in fact euthanized.

Fort Rupert Elementary School recently released a warning, adding that students are not allowed to linger outside the school building, which is less than a kilometre away from where the incident occurred.

WildSafeBC stated that “if you encounter a cougar, keep calm. Make yourself look as large as possible and back away slowly, keeping the cougar in view, and allowing a clear exit for the cougar. Pick up children and small pets immediately. Never run or turn your back- sudden movements may provoke an attack.”

The organization also added that in the case of an aggressive cougar, “respond aggressively in all cases as cougars see you as a meal: keep eye contact, yell and make loud noises, and show your teeth.”

WildSafeBC pointed out that, like the case of Cosmo, the cougar will often “pull debris over the carcass to keep off scavengers. The cougar will stay near a kill site, returning to it regularly until the prey is completely consumed.”

Residents are encouraged to report any dangerous wildlife sightings to conservation.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Very disrespectful’: Headstones at Enderby cemetery damaged by excavation crew

Headstones at the Cliffside Cemetery were driven over by excavation crew

Fundraiser launched for missing Vernon man

GoFundMe campaign already at halfway mark of $5K goal

Our history in pictures

Vernon’s vew from the top of the world

Support warms Vernon seniors centre

More than $54,000 raised at Furnace Fundraiser

Lecture series celebrates Okanagan art

David Doody presents at Vernon Art Gallery for UBCO Lecture Series

WATCH: Cougar caught on doorbell cam in Vernon

Glenn Gorham shares footage of late-night visit from wild cat

Watch out for scams, clickbait in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s death: Better Business Bureau

Kobe Bryant and his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles

Calgary man dies in snowmobiling incident near Revelstoke

Boulder Mountain is a popular snowmobiling area west of the city

Kamloops killer who claims victim stabbed himself has appeal dismissed

Gordon Camille was sentenced to 6 years in a federal penitentiary following a 2018 manslaughter conviction

Despite reports of decline, birds flocking to national parks in Canadian Rockies

Recent studies suggest overall bird population has slid by three billion since 1970

Central Okanagan man accused of sexual assault found not guilty due to alibi

Justice Dennis Hori determined a reasonable doubt in the Crown’s case against Robert Copeland

Former UN committee member defends stance on B.C.’s Coastal GasLink pipeline

First Nations LNG Alliance accused UN committee, human rights watchdog of not doing their research

Kelowna-Lake Country MP calls for end to softwood lumber dispute

‘This brings the total jobs lost in the forestry sector to over 4,000 in B.C. alone,’ said MP Gray

Most Read