Over the last four months local conservation officers have received 100 problem wildlife complaints about cougars.
The complaints range from sightings to the actual loss of pets or livestock, and conservation officers have trapped and euthanized seven or eight cougars.
“It’s not unusual to see cougars in and around Williams Lake because of the high concentration of deer in the area,” says Sgt. Len Butler of the Cariboo Chilcotin Zone Conservation Officer Service.
“We take a lot of calls on sightings, which is very important. If we have a cougar being seen in the daytime taking pets, in a place like a subdivision on Dog Creek Road, then we can set a trap. It really helps us a lot receiving those sighting calls,” he adds.
Butler began working in Williams Lake in June and has been told that numbers are down a little compared to other years, but the number of calls is higher.
He reminds the public that feeding deer creates problems and confirms a number of calls come from people living near houses where deer are being fed.
“If you’re feeding deer, especially in a subdivision, even though it’s not unlawful to do so, we recommend you don’t. Look at a year like this, with very little snow, the deer are doing just fine.”
When a complaint comes in to the conservation office, officers respond with an e-mail containing some safety guidelines.
“It seems to be helping a lot of people who have moved into the area who aren’t quite sure what to do,” Butler says.
He encourages anyone with concerns to report them to the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line toll-free at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP), or visit the RAPP website at www.rapp.bc.ca.