Three cougars have been destroyed after killing a family pet and posing a public threat.
Between Sept. 21 and 23, conservation officers responded to two separate incidents of aggressive cougars in the BX.
“If they do what cougars do and eat deer and keep to themselves, then fine. But if they cross that line, we have to step in,” said officer Tanner Beck.
On Sept. 21, a dog went missing after a woman let it outside in the morning on McLennan Road.
“As she (owner) was in the yard, the dog’s carcass fell out of the tree,” said Beck.
“She looked up and there was a large cougar in the tree.”
Officers were called immediately and a decision was made to destroy the cougar.
Beck says there would be little chance of success if the 18-month-to-two-year-old cougar had been live trapped and relocated to a wilderness area.
“The cougar was targeting pets as a prey source, which brought it close to the community and created a public safety risk,” he said, adding that ensuring the safety of the public is his department’s priority.
On Sept. 23, a report was received about two cougars two kilometres away from McLennan Road. They hadn’t killed any pets but they were considered aggressive, so they were destroyed.
“They were walking around the front of houses and decks and looking for the same thing (as the first animal),” said Beck.
Beck insists that residents, especially in rural and forested areas, must realize that cougars are native to the North Okanagan.
“They’ll always be out there,” he said, adding that residents should ensure livestock and pets are secure, especially at dawn and dusk when cougars are more active.
The public should also be aware of what actions to take if they come across a cougar.
“Make yourself look big and make it feel uncomfortable so it’s scared off,” said Beck.
For more information about cougar safety, go to http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/cos/info/wildlife_human_interaction/docs/cougars.html.