Princeton RCMP sergeant kills cougar threatening residential neighbourhood

An RCMP officer shot and killed a cougar, close to a residential neighbourhood, in Princeton B.C. Tuesday June 2.

“I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck,” said detachment commander Sergeant Rob Hughes, who was looking for the cat after two reports in one day about the animal roaming the area.

While Hughes was looking for the cougar, the cougar was looking for him.

“It was stalking me,” he acknowledged.

Princeton RCMP first received a report about the cougar – weighing approximately 90 pounds – at 10 a.m.

It was photographed in a backyard on Westridge Drive, and the property owners went outside and clapped their hands to discourage it.

Related: Youth reports being followed by cougar on Billiter Avenue in Princeton

While the provincial conservation office was notified, Princeton police responded immediately.

“Due to the immediate safety risk to residents in the area, we went right away,” said Hughes.

A two-hour search produced no results. However a second sighting called into the detachment at about 2 p.m. sent Hughes, another RCMP officer, and a conservation officer back to the area.

Hughes was alone, following a trail, when he sensed the predator.

“I don’t know. I just knew something and I turned around.”

He saw the animal, sniffing at his tracks, about 40 feet away.

Hughes said he took no pleasure in killing the cat, but understands that an adult cougar, lingering in an populated area, could not be healthy or trusted to act normally.

A week previous, Princeton RCMP received a report of a cougar prowling near the Deerview Motel on Highway 3.

“I did it for the safety of the community. We have kids coming out of school and this is not a small kitty…It’s a predator.”

Related: Cougar spotted at Princeton high school

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