Cougar and kittens

Help manage this wildlife conflict situation in Hyde Creek

  • Mar. 3, 2015 11:00 a.m.

Dear Members of the Tri-Port Community

Over this last week there have been multiple photographs and posts on social media regarding a mother cougar and two kittens in Hyde Creek. Many members of the public have expressed concern over this family unit being destroyed simply because it is in an urban area. At this time the Conservation Officer Service is actively employing hazing strategies in an effort to have the mother cougar move her kittens out of the urban area. We are making a serious effort in ensuring that the public safety issues with a mother cougar teaching her young to hunt in an urban area are mitigated through negative re-enforcement training. However, we also need support from the general public.

What can you do to help? There are three ways that residents of Hyde Creek and Port McNeill can help the COS manage this human wildlife conflict situation. These are:

1) Timely and accurate reporting – A key component of hazing strategies is early response. The goal is to break the cycle of food source association with an urban, residential, environment. We need your help! Please do not simply just post your information on personal social media. Ensure that the Conservation Officer Service has been phoned.

2) Attractant Management – Cougars are attracted to urban areas because of prey availability. This comes in many forms and can include, small house pets, hobby farm animals, urban deer, and in some cases small children. At this time we are asking residents to ensure that their cats, small dogs, and animals like chickens are properly attended and secured at night. We are asking that you do not leave small children unattended in back yards near large wooded areas.

3) Personal knowledge development – It is imperative that each member of the general public takes the time to educate themselves about the wildlife in their area. We all live in Cougar Country! Personal knowledge on cougar safety, livestock husbandry, and attractant management is critical to ensuring that us, as people, are not contributing to the conflict situation.

There are two online resources for the general public that are full of valuable information. These links can be easily found by using Google and typing in, “cougar safety ministry of environment”. Or, please see these links:

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/cos/info/wildlife_human_interaction/docs/cougars.html

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/documents/cougsf.htm

Many individuals have been asking me about relocating these cougars. There are a multitude of risks with relocation. These risks surround many areas inducing, safety issues with live capture, health concerns with immobilization, natural competition in new territory, and human safety. Relocating a cougar does not mean it will survive and in some cases may even be considered inhumane. However, we are keeping all options open at this time. The best option for us as a community right now is early response and intervention through hazing. As such, I am asking for your help to manage this cougar family in a socially responsible manner.

It is my intention to outreach to the local schools for presentations and to accomplish door to door education in the Hyde Creek area over the next few days.

Regards,

Bryce Casavant

Conservation Officer

Port McNeill

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