Multiple sightings of a cougar in the upper Westridge and Woodland Drive area of Williams Lake have prompted the Conservation Officer Service to plan for its removal.
“Initially it was just a sighting at night, which on its own merit is what cougars naturally do in an area that is urban but fringing on a rural area,” Sgt. Jeff Tyre of the COS told the Tribune Tuesday. “Now it was seen on the back of a person’s deck the other night.”
The COS were just going to monitor it, Tyre said.
“It is still nocturnal, but it’s too comfortable to the point where we are going to have to deal with it.”
A trap will be set at the right time based on a good sighting the COS can work with, he added.
In the meantime, Tyre urged residents to keep their pets in at night and keep them close.
The cougar did kill a deer, which is its natural prey, but has not shown any interest in people, Tyre said.
On Monday evening, Tyre removed a cougar from a ranch west of Williams Lake that had killed six sheep and injured three more.
“We would urge people to put their livestock into secure barns or structures at night as that would prevent a whole lot of conflict with cougars and bears,” he said, adding thre are a bears around getting into garbage with the biggest thing being apple trees.
“If people could pick their apples, we’d certainly appreciate it.”
The COS, as a whole, will be moving toward a provincial wildlife project on attractant management, Tyre noted.
“That’s going to mean as opportunity knocks officers will be issuing dangerous wildlife protection orders and possibly issuing fines for attracting dangerous wildlife. If you have an apple tree and the apples haven’t been picked, you could expect some sort of enforcement action.”