A cougar was killed in Port Alice Tuesday after attacking and killing a small dog.
A conservation officer from Campbell River euthanized it not far from the village after bringing in a team of tracking dogs they utilize for these kinds of scenarios, which is the most effective way for officers to catch these kind of animals.
The cougar was a juvenile female in moderate health, and it appeared to be recovering from being attacked by a larger animal as it had healing wounds around its face.
Mike Newton, sergeant for the North Island zone, said the conservation office had reports of the cougar in early September, followed by a Sept. 3 report it had killed a resident’s housecat out in their yard late at night. That’s when concern started this cougar was “not just passing through.”
The cougar was seen again in the village on Sept. 5 and was showing interest in a resident’s backyard chickens.
“At that time, the owner of the chickens threw an object at the cougar, I think it was a hammer, and the cougar reluctantly left, but it was slow to leave,” stated Newton.
This evidence all but confirmed the animal was starting to show a definite interest in livestock and domestic animals and was busy hunting in and around yards in Port Alice, “and unfortunately it culminated yesterday in the cougar killing of a small dog,” added Newton.
He added once a cougar shifts from natural food to livestock and domestic animals, they pose a significant public safety risk, and the response is to remove the animal from the population.
“Young up and coming cougars have a tough time finding their own territory, which means they often fall into trouble by ending up in town and close to people.”
As for rumours of a second cougar still hanging around the village, Newton says there is no evidence of it at this time, but he asked that all sightings be reported to the RAPP line. The reporting number is 1-877-952-7277.