Carnavon Cougar Destroyed

A cougar that has been hanging out in Port Hardy has been destroyed.

A cougar that has been hanging out in Port Hardy has been destroyed.

Officers were called in Friday morning after a teacher making his was along a path to Eagle View Elementary School in Port Hardy looked back to see he was being followed by a housecat, being followed by a cougar.

“We brought the hounds out from (Port) McNeill and cleared all the brush by the school, all the trails that go in behind up towards the high school and the residential area beside (it),” said Conservation Office Bryce Cassavant.

Cassavant and a houndsman came to Port Hardy Saturday and were approached by a woman who said her dog had been chased by a cougar.

“We tracked it for a few hours and found it up in a tree,” Cassavant said.

The cougar was determined to be a young male, three to four years of age, that weighed in at 110 pounds. The animal’s face and inside of its mouth were full of claw marks, some fresh, an indication

it had been eating house cats. Cassavant said it was the same cougar that was captured on video. Conservation had been trying to catch the problem cougar.

“I had a live trap out since April 12,” Cassavant said, adding it can take time for a cougar to take the bait.

“We trapped one in Quatsino. That trap was out for two weeks before he went in,” he said.

“That one was destroyed because it had pre- dated on livestock and was posing a risk to the children in the area. I had trail cameras set up and it was hunting in people’s yard, showing up at 9 o’clock consistently.”

Cassavant said that if cougars have moved off natural prey and are not exhibiting fear of humans, they are not candidates for relocation.

There are reports of a mother and two kittens in the area, and Cassavant will continue to monitor their activities.

“I’m not going to run around and shoot every- thing just because someone saw it,” he said.

Cassavant says there needs to be a balanced approach to managing wildlife concerns.

This means timely and accurate reporting and managing the public fear that is being created on social media often through incorrect messaging,and false information being posted. Anyone who spots a cougar in a situation that could cause a conflict please call 1-877-952-7277. Sightings may also be reported on line at www.env.gov.bc.ca/cos. If you see a cougar, stay calm and keep the cougar in view. Pick up children immediately – children frighten easily, the noise and move- ments 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. Keep the cougar in front of you at all times. Never run or turn your back on a cougar. If a cougar shows interest or follows you, respond aggressively. If a cougar attacks, fight back. Convince the cougar you are a threat and not prey. Use anything you can as a weapon. Focus your attack on the cougar’s face and eyes.