Rangers Kill Threatening Cougar in Vancouver Park
Canadian conservation officers shot and killed a cougar in Goldstream Provincial Park Monday morning (Sept. 5), after the animal had been hanging around an area dangerously close to campsites for three days, the Vancouver Sun reported.
The 18-month-old female cougar was first spotted Saturday night, said conservation officer Peter Pauwels, at the back end of the campground between campsite 76 and the Upper Goldstream Trail, which runs adjacent to the river.
“There were lot of little kids there and it’s summer and a long weekend, the campground was completely full,” he said. “It was a dangerous situation.”
The cougar was seen several times on Sunday in the exact same spot, and was not scared off when people threw rocks at it, Pauwels said.
“It was very unafraid of people which is unusual for young cougars. Normally we expect them to leave.”
Conservation officers arrived on scene Sunday at 11 p.m. but Pauwels said he could not get a clear shot of the cat. Monday morning around 6:30 a.m., conservation officers brought in hounds to try and scare the cougar up a tree so a tranquilizer gun could be used, but this was unsuccessful, Pauwels said.
The tranquilizer takes five to 10 minutes to kick in and it is unsafe to shoot an animal in an area where it can run away, he said.
Pauwels added this cougar would not be a good candidate for relocation because it was young and not scared of people.
Signs were put up Sunday warning people of the cougar and Pauwels said campers were very concerned, given the recent cougar attack on a toddler at Pacific Rim National Park.
Eighteen-month-old Julien Sylvester is recovering in B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver after a young cougar pounced on him and sank its teeth into his skull on Aug. 29, while his Ucluelet family was visiting Kennedy Lake.
That cougar has not yet been caught.
“Definitely people are more aware and people are a little worried about [cougars] right now, more so than they normally would be,” Pauwels said. “But we would have done the exact same thing regardless of what happened in Ucluelet.”
He said campers he spoke with Monday morning were relieved the cougar was no longer a threat.