The B.C. Conservation Service was called to Ucluelet this week after a cougar killed a domestic house cat.
Acting Sergeant for Central Vancouver Island, Stuart Bates, told the Westerly News they received a report on Wednesday night around 11:30 p.m. near the local Co-op gas station.
He said the COS has no plans to trap or remove the animal because cougars are naturally active at night, but will monitor the animal’s behaviour.
“At this point it was night-active and skiddaddled out of the area. It didn’t hang out, just grabbed the cat and left. If a cougar is being day-active, then we’re going to have an issue,” Bates said.
“(Being active at) 11:30 in the morning versus 11:30 at night is a big difference. Until I get more sightings and find out that this cougar is habituated, like we’ve had before in Ucluelet where they’ve become day-active and they’re hanging out, then we deal with it.”
He hopes the incident serves as a reminder to West Coast residents to never leaves their pets unattended outside.
“You should not have your cats outside anywhere, but certainly not in Ucluelet or Tofino,” he said, adding there are a variety of predators in the area like wolves, cougars, eagles, racoons and owls.
“They resemble the small prey out there and they will get taken. Hopefully, with this call, everybody puts their house cats away and the cougar learns ‘Oh, there’s no food here’ and it will leave.”
He urges anyone who spots a predator, like a cougar or bear, to immediately report their sighting to the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.
“People always give us a bad rap they think we’re just going to go shoot it. The more information I have the better decision I can make. I can’t stress that enough,” he said.
“As long as wildlife is, as we say, playing by the rules. We don’t come out and remove them. We try to make sure that we control the situation that can make them get worse…The quickest way to get a bear killed is don’t call me, because you’re going to allow it to get habituated and conditioned and then you’re finally going to call me when it starts breaking into structures, at which point I have no choice. If you call me early I can intercede.”