Cougars who kill pets are a potential threat to humans, Conservation Officer Kyle Bueckert said. File photo

Cougars who kill pets are a potential threat to humans, Conservation Officer Kyle Bueckert said. File photo

Wildlife officials stymied after West Kootenay cougar sighting posted only to Facebook

Conservation Officers are reminding the public to phone RAPP-line when they spot dangerous wildlife

Boundary Conservation Officers (COs) say they’re frustrated that dangerous wildlife encounters are being posted to social media before they’re reported to the Conservation Officers’ Service.

CO Kyle Bueckert said he wants to alert the public after the so-called “College Road cougar,” known to have killed two pets over the last 18 months, was reported in rural Grand Forks Thursday, June 10. The report came in through B.C.’s Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline, which Bueckert said was greatly appreciated.

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Bueckert then found out area residents had been posting recent sightings of the cat to Facebook, leaving him and fellow CO Mark Walkosky out of the loop.

“COs aren’t monitoring Facebook posts and we can’t be effective or serve the community in a timely manner if we’re not being notified directly,” he said.

The College Road cougar was last seen on 5th Road West, near the end of GN Road. Bueckert said the cat killed a small dog near Hardy Mountain last December and an area house cat the year before.

“At this point, we haven’t set any traps, but if we get the opportunity to trap this cougar, we will,” he said.

The cougar is known to prey on deer and turkeys, but Bueckert qualified that, “Once a cougar keys in to killing dogs and cats, that can easily become a public safety concern.”

COs would consider euthanizing the cat if it were to kill another pet.

“Killing pets is a learned behavior by a predator,” he said, noting that cougars tend to become bolder and more dangerous once they develop that habit.

Residents are reminded to keep their dogs on-leash when they go outside, especially because dogs have a tendency to charge cougars.

If you spot dangerous wildlife, poachers or polluters (including people dumping trash in wildlife areas), please immediately call the 24-hour RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277, Bueckert said.


 

@ltritsch1
laurie.tritschler@grandforksgazette.ca

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