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OUR VIEW: There are times when COs have to kill
A story broke late last week of a cougar that had to be put down after entering a home. A woman in Vernon came home from a walk to find a cougar in her living room, with one of her dog’s chew toys in its mouth. The conservation officer was eventually forced to kill the cougar.
The most shocking, and saddest, part of this story is not that the cougar died; it’s the vitriol that has been spewed at the conservation officer on media websites carrying the article.
“Wish the cougar would have gotten one of them first.”
Although this incident did not happen on the Island, whenever one does, similar comments flood the Internet. Such comments are not only uncalled for, they are ignorant.
The bottom line is, conservation officers are exactly that: CONSERVATION officers. They are not hired to kill wildlife, and to a person, they will say it’s the part of their job they despise the most.
Killing an animal is a last resort for them.
In this case, that cougar had become so comfortable around human scent that it entered a home and was sprawled out on a living room rug!
Yes, it was a chew toy in the cat’s mouth. It could just as easily have been a toddler.
This is a wild carnivore. It will attack, kill and eat many creatures smaller than it, or perceived as weaker.
Cougars are “beautiful, majestic” animals, as one poster describes, but they are also predators.
And relocating cougars is next to impossible. Many cougars found in populated areas are young males and they are there because they’re trying to seek out their own territory and that can lead to run-ins with us.
In the end, the public needs to allow conservation officers to do their jobs. They don’t need to be second-guessed when there’s a potential danger to human life.
– Black Press