A prowling cougar has been caught and killed in Dunster under the auspices of the Conservation Office in Prince George.
In early October a cougar killed two goats at the Bressette’s residence. Lorrie Bressette says this is the first time she’s had a problem with cougars and she has lived here her whole life.
“I’m pretty sure it was sick. A neighbour saw it down from our place – it was skinny.”
The cougar attacked two of their goats, but one goat became entangled in the electric fence. They rescued the injured animal but the recovery is not full.
“She’s hunched over and she’s shivery. She’s not 100%. I probably won’t breed her this year,” Bressette says.
The conservation office came out and set traps but had to take them away a few days later after they were not successful.
Conservation Officer Todd Hunter said if the trap doesn’t work right away, the chances of getting another animal in a baited trap increases exponentially. There had also been sightings of grizzly bears including a sow and cubs, and traps could make it more dangerous for residents.
Bressette says they likely didn’t have further problems with the cougar because after those incidents, they put the animals in the barn every night.
The cougar hadn’t been seen for a month, but on Oct. 31st a cougar showed up at the Bressette’s neighbours’, less than a kilometre away.
Phyllis and Bob Krueger learned of the prowling cougar on Oct. 31st. It had dragged one of their lambs over an electric fence and into the woods about 30 yards from the pen.
“The dog was running along electric fence, jumping and leaping, we can only surmise now the cougar was there and left when Bob went out. So Bob scared it when we went out into the woods. We found where it had slept, a clear spot under a tree. She had been there for a while, had eaten part of the lamb.”
On Friday morning a mature goat was killed and dragged about 40 yards from the fenced pen. Because of the fresh snow you could see the drag trail.
They called the conservation officer and he came out by 3:30. He set four traps and secured the goat carcass and trap to a tree. The Kruegers put all the animals in the barn that night.
The CO had left a trail camera on the fence post and got activated.
“The cougar showed up before 9:30pm, which means the cougar was probably in the woods watching everything we were doing, and watching the CO put the traps on.”
The cougar got two legs caught in the traps during the night and was put down the next morning.
Krueger said the cougar had a wound on her left hip.
“Something had happened to her where she’d been injured at some point. I don’t know if that’s why she was going after domestic animals,” she said, adding it was sad that they had no choice but to put the animal down.
The Kruegers have their remaining16 goats, 20 sheep, and 18 lambs to take care of.
“It was a big relief because this was getting pretty tense not knowing how we were going to lose our animals.”
CO Hunter says they are confident it was the same animal offending in early October. That said, people should always be aware.
“You should be always cognisant of predators in the Robson Valley, for cougars and bears, wolves. There are a number of predators in the valley because of the food source abundance. We encourage landowners to keep a close eye on livestock, electric fence works really well. If there’s any brush or large trees right up against the pen, they can access the pens quite easily.
The public can report abnormal and threatening wildlife behaviour to the COS call centre at 1-877-952-7277