BRITISH COLUMBIA

Cougar Shot In Coquitlam Park

05/30/2013 12:22 EDT | Updated 07/30/2013 05:12 EDT
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B.C. conservation officers say they have shot four young cougars this week that had no fear of people, including one in a Coquitlam park east of Vancouver and three more near the southern Interior town of Castlegar.

Conservation officer Kevin Van Damme said the cougar shot in Coquitam just after 8 a.m. PT Thursday was believed to be about one year old.

Van Damme said officers started tracking the cougar at 4 a.m. with the help of dogs.

"We heard the dogs this morning. We heard them up and down the trail here," said area resident Mona Lemoine. "It's a wild animal, it's a beautiful animal and so it's dangerous and that's unfortunate."

Van Damme said officers had no option but to shoot the cougar because they feared it would return if relocated. He said the cougar did not show fear of human interaction, prompting worries it would exhibit aggressive behaviour.

While officers don't believe another cougar is in the area, they are still urging residents to be cautious.

Officers had been looking for the cougar near Coquitlam River Park after repeated sightings, including some in nearby backyards.

Park-goers were asked to stay out of the area and exercise caution in all areas adjacent to the Coquitlam River, which runs through the park.

3 cougars shot in Castlegar

Meanwhile earlier this week three cougars were shot near Castlegar after they were reportedly stalking the rural community of Robson.

The three juvenile cougars were reported stalking the rural community of Robson Tuesday evening.

Conservation officer Ben Beetlestone got a distressed call from woman saying one of the cougars was attacking a dog.

When he arrived, he shot that cougar while it was chewing on the dog, then shot its two siblings. Remarkably the dog survived the attack.

Beetlestone says the cougars were desperate and had no fear of people.

"They were walking on the street past people without fear. This is another example of wild animals hungry and desperate and lose fear of people and start to do these types of things," said Beetlestone.

Beetlestone says the cats were a year old at most — probably left alone by their mother before they had the proper survival skills.

"This is what you get when you have three siblings that haven't developed the necessary skills to hunt prey on their own so they hunt in communities."

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