An animal that becomes habituated to eating livestock raises the risk to people. (files)

News Views: In the wild

Second cougar shot in the Whonnock neighbourhood in as many months.

A Conservation officer had to put down a cougar on Wednesday that earlier in the week killed a pregnant goat.

It was the second cougar shot in the Whonnock neighbourhood in as many months.

The first was killed because it was getting close to people, said Conservation officer Todd Hunter.

The one on Wednesday had killed livestock.

It returned to the property, and would have kept coming back.

In both cases, attractants on the properties had to be reduced.

Hunter said an animal that becomes habituated to eating livestock raises the risk to people.

And once a cougar tastes and easy meal, such as goats or chickens, it’s going to return for more.

The risk has to be removed. The cougar must be put down, even for humane reasons.

Relocating cougars, especially young ones, often isn’t possible. And survival rates for rehabilitated animals are low.

According to WildSafeBC, cougars in conflict are usually young cougars that have not yet learned how to hunt efficiently and are looking for an easy target, or are older cougars that can no longer hunt efficiently in the wild.

Orphaned young cubs, studies have shown, don’t know how to hunt and have no one to teach them, and they don’t have the size or skills to fend for themselves in the wild if relocated and would likely starve to death.

Also, Hunter said, relocating a cougar often means moving it into another’s territory – which means one will inevitably kill the other. Both cougars and bears will kill the offspring of another female they encounter, then mate with that female.

That’s what they do.

So if you care about preserving cougars, protect your livestock from them first.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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