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Reward in cougar poaching case now stands at $8,500

The B.C. Conservation Officers Service found two cougar kittens near Hill 60 Forest Service Road in the Cowichan Valley. The paws of both kittens had been cut off and one was missing its head.
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A file photo of a cougar. TIMES COLONIST FILE PHOTO

A wildlife charity has increased to $8,500 its reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the illegal killing of two cougar kittens near Duncan.

The B.C. Conservation Officers Service found the young cats last week near Hill 60 Forest Service Road in the Cowichan Valley.

The paws of both kittens had been cut off and one was missing its head.

A reward of $1,000 was initially offered by the FurBearers. The group said it has since been contacted by four people wanting to make donations toward the reward. Now standing at $8,500, it is the largest reward the group has offered.

“We are overwhelmed by the response of these individuals and the thousands of others who have shared our reward information and coverage of this poaching case,” said Aaron Hofman, director of advocacy and policy for the group.

“It is a heartwarming reminder that the majority of British Columbians admire and respect our wildlife, and that we all agree there is no place for poaching in our communities.”

Under B.C.’s Wildlife Act, it is illegal to kill cougar kittens — any cougar with spots or under one year of age — or cougars in a family unit.

Information can be reported to the province's Report All Poachers and Polluters Line at 1-877-952-727 or by using the online form.

The Fur-Bearers was founded in 1953 to protect fur-bearing animals in the wild and confinement, and promote co-existence, through conservation, advocacy, research and education.