Young cougars destroyed after becoming too used to humans in coastal B.C. town
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OCEAN FALLS, B.C. — Two young cougars have been destroyed in a small town on British Columbia's central coast after the animals grew increasingly bold and even entered buildings in the community.
Sgt. Jeff Tyre with the B.C. Conservation Officer Services said the "sub-adult" cats had been wandering around Ocean Falls, B.C., for a couple of months and their behaviour had become an increasing concern.
"They were consistently in the community. They were highly habituated, so showing no fear of humans whatsoever," he said.
The animals were acting unnatural, going out at all hours of the day and coming increasingly close to humans, including on to people's decks, Tyre said.
Ocean Falls resident Herb Carpenter said he spotted the cougars on his property several times, including once when they wandered within about one-and-a-half metres of him.
"I don't particularly like to be that close to them," he said. "But I'm an outdoorsman, I'm a hunter. I take them as they come."
At one point, the cats killed a seal and dragged it up on to Carpenter's dock for a feast. Later, they wandered into his boathouse to take shelter from the rain.
Living on a property next to the woods, Carpenter said he and his wife are used to having wild animals around. But the problem with these cougars was that there isn't anything for them to eat in the area, he explained.
"They're short on groceries and that makes it kind of a problem," he said.
Tyre said a decision was made to kill the cougars last week because they presented a risk to the public.
The circumstances are unfortunate, Carpenter said.
"They were really nice looking cats and it's a shame that this had to be done. But they're going to get in trouble later this winter because there's nothing here for them to eat," he said.
Conservation officers have now left the small community, but are asking residents to report any other cougar sightings.