Two young cougars were put down by a conservation officer earlier this month after the animals killed livestock north of Ladysmith.
Three reports were received by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service regarding cougar sightings in the area on Nov. 12 and 13.
Sgt Ben York of the Central Island Zone detachment said two of the calls simply reporting seeing the typically elusive creatures with no mention of aggressive or threatening behaviour
“We typically don’t respond to calls of this nature in rural or wilderness/urban interfaces areas since that is a normal and natural occurrence on Vancouver Island,” York said in an email to the Chronicle. “Of course, we do respond to cougars confined in urban areas or exhibiting threatening behaviour to humans or livestock.”
In the third reported sighting the suspected cougars killed chickens and an officer attended the scene with tracking dogs.
“Two juvenile cougars were tracked and treed nearby,” York said. “The animals appeared malnourished and no mother cougar was located nearby.”
The officer destroyed the two animals due to both their “poor physical condition and their learned behaviour of considering livestock as prey.”
“It is unlikely they would have survived relocation to a wilderness area and probable that they would continue to seek out livestock or pets as a food source,” York added.
The Conservation Officer Service isn’t sure what happened to the mother cougar and no further reports of cougar sightings have been received since the incident.
The public is encouraged to report all sightings of cougars in urban areas to the emergency call center at 1-877-952-7277. Officers will assess the reports to ensure public safety and respond if warranted.