3 cougars killed after stalking humans, eating cats
Three problem cougars have been destroyed in Squamish, B.C. after conservation officers say they became habituated to the community and unafraid of humans.
Numerous complaints about the cougars approaching – and even stalking – residents in the neighbourhood of Garibaldi Highlands prompted the decision to kill the mother cat and two yearlings.
“The conflict level had worsened to the point that they were actually interested in people for no apparent reason than potentially as a prey,” said Insp. Chris Doyle of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. “We were concerned someone was going to be imminently attacked by one of these cougars.”
Although no humans were injured by the three cougars, there was one casualty.
Rikki, Enzo Milia’s family cat, was eaten by the ferocious felines.
Milia described seeing the cougar just across the street from his home while he and his family looked for Ricky. It was then they made the gruesome discovery.
“They had our cat Rikki and they were making a meal out of him. It was so upsetting for the family,” said Milia. “We were screaming at it, throwing things at it, but it was not interested in going away.”
Despite Rikki’s death, Milia said he had hoped the cougars would be relocated rather than killed.
But according to Doyle, relocation for cougars is not a plausible solution as the predators need lots of prey species to hunt. Relocation risks the chance of placing a cougar in another’s territory and displacing it.
There have been numerous reports of cougars that have become habituated and unafraid of humans in the province.
The incident comes less than two weeks after a cougar mauled an 18-month-old boy on Vancouver Island. Julien Sylvester was rushed to BC Children’s Hospital Aug. 29 after he was mauled by the big cat in Kennedy Lake Provincial Park near Ucluelet. The boy has since recovered and is back home with family.
Environment Ministry officials recommend people who spot a cougar keep calm, pick up children, never turn their back and to respond aggressively if the animal shows interest or follows.