Dr. Doug Magnowksi from Animal Care Hospital in Williams Lake said there have been three cougar ‘events’ in the past few days in Chimney Valley.
He noted a foal was badly injured by a cougar, three sheep were killed on another property and a small dog is believed to have been taken by a cougar.
He said it’s important for the public to be aware of cougars in their neighbourhoods and to take precautions, such as locking up small pets and livestock at night and taking care not to walk alone at dusk or dawn.
Sergeant Len Butler of the BC Conservation Officer Service in Williams Lake said phoning to report an incident immediately is very important.
“We set up cameras and traps in Chimney Valley but the sheep kills were several days old.
“We need to hear right away,” he said.
“We hear about cougars almost daily, and although we don’t want to create hysteria, we like to let people know.
“We have a lot of predators here, including cougars and it’s a good idea to be aware.”
He added Chimney Valley is a natural ‘corridor’ for wild animals and noted it’s important for people with livestock to practice good husbandry.
“If you and your neighbours hear about a cougar or bear in your area, letting your livestock run free isn’t a good idea,” he said.
“We’re always going to have cougars here — you can’t eradicate them all, but a cat feeding on livestock we need to know about immediately.”
Public safety is the first priority, said Butler, who stated the BC Conservation office in Williams Lake received more than 1,500 wildlife problem calls last year.
“It’s like triage — we have to do the most serious calls first in an area that covers Quesnel to 100 Mile House and to Bella Coola, and we do our best to get there as soon as possible,” he explained.
“Public and human safety is always first.”
He said people walking during the daytime are generally not problem when it comes to predators, but that dawn, dusk and evening is when animals hunt.
“Be aware and be diligent with your pets and livestock,” he continued.
“If you do see a cougar or have an incident with livestock call the RAPP line 1-877-952-7277.”
For more information about wildlife and how to co-exist safely with animals in your area, visit www.wildsafebc.com.