The cougar believed to be responsible for killing livestock on the Saanich Peninsula for the past five months has been shot and killed by a conservation officer.
The cougar, a healthy two-year-old weighing about 45 kilograms, had been on conservation officer Peter Pauwels’ most-wanted list since it started killing sheep in August.
“It killed two alpacas in the 5700 block of West Saanich Road and came back to feed on them later,” said Pauwels, who got a clear shot at the cougar Wednesday morning as it was feeding on one of the animals.
The cougar has killed about 30 sheep, 10 goats and two alpacas — indicating it was moving on to larger animals, Pauwels said.
“It is the most livestock I have seen by a cougar,” he said. “I think it must have been a learned behaviour.”
Once the cougar found it was easier to kill farm animals than deer, its fate was sealed. “I can’t relocate an animal that has been involved in livestock predation. It’s not even a choice for me. It’s against our policy,” Pauwels said.
“I know a certain section of the public is going to be upset, but there’s also a huge number of people out there that didn’t want this animal around.”
The carcass is in the Conservation Officer Service freezer and, as the animal was in such good condition, local First Nations and other groups will be asked whether they want the hide.
“There is value to the hide, so we don’t like to throw them away,” Pauwels said.
© Copyright 2013