Squamish residents question killing cougars
Conservation officers in Squamish, B.C., have killed two cougars in the past week, leaving some residents asking whether there isn't a less severe solution.
At a town hall meeting on Wednesday night, some residents expressed concerns about how officers were dealing with problem cougars.
"We see animals on the trails and we won't actually call anyone because we just think somebody's going to come kill it," one Squamish resident said.
A cougar that had attacked two dogs, killing one of them, was shot on June 13. Another, which had pounced on a three-year-old girl while she picked berries with her mother, was killed on June 17.
But conservation officer Chris Doyle says that only high-risk cougars are destroyed.
"Generally with higher conflict animals that are a threat to human safety or public safety, we're not going to be translocating," Doyle said. "It will be destroyed."
But cougar expert Kyle Knopff says tranquilizing and transferring animals may be a viable solution.
"It depends where you relocate the cougar to. If you relocate the animal to an area with a lot of prey, and where there aren't already a lot of cougars, the relocation may be successful," Knopff said. "It's varied."
Possible trouble on the horizon
The recent increase in cougar sightings has come at a bad time for bicyclists.
This weekend, hundreds of mountain bikers from around the world will be converging in Squamish for the Test of Metal 67-kilometre bike ride.
"We've talked a lot about it," Cliff Miller of the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association said. "We think that the sheer volume of people is going to keep any cats at bay."
"We hope," he said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Maria Weisgarber