Conservation officers found and destroyed a cougar that had been prowling around Comox in recent days. (WildSafe BC photo)

Island COs find and destroy predatory cougar near residential area

Animal presumed to be same one that killed housecat in Comox neighbourhood

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service has had to put down a cougar on the prowl in a residential area of a Vancouver Island community on Wednesday morning.

It is believed to be the same animal that killed a house cat at the front door of a house in Comox on the weekend.

Conservation officer James Hilgemann told the Comox Valley Record that his colleague, conservation officer Steve Petrovcic, searched for the adult cougar Wednesday morning with dogs and found it. The animal had to be destroyed.

They believe it to be the same cougar looming near homes in Comox on the weekend and that killed a house cat. A woman posted on Facebook Saturday that the animal pounced on her 18-year-old house cat at her front door at an Anderton Road home. She ran out and threw rocks at the animal, which stayed nearby for two hours. Police attended the scene with guns drawn but were not able to shoot the animal.

“On Saturday it came fairly close to houses and did kill a house cat,” Hilgemann said. “On Sunday we ran into it on Perry Place, which is close by in the area.”

RELATED STORY: Cougar seen near Courtenay middle school

RELATED STORY: Cougar shot and killed on Vancouver Island

Another person reported the animal was seen Wednesday morning after it ran out from the bushes by mailboxes in an area close to where children catch a school bus.

While this part of Comox is residential, Hilgemann said, there is also an abundance of hobby farms nearby.

“It’s a good habitat for cougars, but our goal is to protect people first,” he said.

There is no indication garbage was left in the area to attract the cougar. Pet owners living in zones close to the wilderness are reminded to be careful when it comes to wild animals.

“People leave their cats and dogs outside and leave the safety of their houses, and unfortunately they become part of the food chain,” he said. “A few days ago a hobby farm nearby lost some chickens [to the cougar] and it was never reported. The area is full of hobby farms and deer, and that’s a perfect area for the these animals…. Hopefully [capturing this cougar] will put people’s minds at ease.”

Province-wide, according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service website, the number of calls regarding cougars this time of year has dropped slightly since the beginning of the decade. For October 2018, the number was 240, up from just over 200 the previous two years, but down from the first half of the decade when the total ranged between 270 to more than 300. The same pattern holds for November, as there have been about 20-30 fewer calls in recent years compared with the first few years of the decade.

Cougar interactions

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service website includes guidelines on how to deal with a cougar interaction:

  • Stay calm and keep the cougar in view; pick up children immediately. Children frighten easily and the noise and movements they make could provoke an attack. Back away slowly, ensuring that the animal has a clear avenue of escape.
  • Make yourself look as large as possible and keep the cougar in front of you at all times. Never run or turn your back on a cougar; sudden movement may provoke an attack.
  • If a cougar shows interest or follows you, respond aggressively, maintain eye contact with the cougar, show your teeth and make loud noises. Arm yourself with rocks or sticks as weapons.
  • If a cougar attacks, fight back, convince the cougar you are a threat and not prey and use anything you can as a weapon. Focus your attack on the cougar’s face and eyes. Use rocks, sticks, bear spray or personal belongings as weapons.

(With files from Erin Haluschak)



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Beat the rush: Give the gift of time to the community this holiday season

Volunteer Victoria offers tips for meaningful experiences

Sunny skies ahead for Wednesday

Plus a look ahead at your weekend

Sensitive Santa brings patient holiday cheer to Tillicum Centre

Those who need more time with Santa can book a session ahead starting Nov. 19

The Grinch decks the halls for Sidney’s holiday season

A flurry of holiday events to be had in Sidney this year

B.C. mom, kids on bike turned away from Tim Hortons drive-thru

Car-free for years, Charity Millar ‘felt gross’ being denied service

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

B.C. to advocate for frustrated, confused, unhappy cellphone users, says premier

Maple Ridge New Democrat Bob D’Eith to advocate for more affordable and transparent cellphone options

‘Our culture is not a religion,’ indigenous educator tells B.C. Supreme Court in case of smudging at school

Mother also gave evidence Tuesday in Nanaimo courtroom, case continues Wednesday

B.C. man who killed Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchers

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Port Alberni rallies for mill workers

Fundraisers helping ease the sting of five months without work

Most Read