COs put down cougar near local park

Quick action by local conservation officers Tuesday afternoon resulted in the killing of a cougar that had been reported in a residential area near Kalamoir Regional Park in West Kelowna.

According to Barbara Leslie, inspector for the Okanagan region of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, the cougar was shot after it appeared twice at a Lake-ridge Road property in Lakeview Heights, the first time attacking a small dog and scratching the dog’s owner as he tried to get the cougar away from his pet. The dog sustained minor injuries.

Leslie said there were seven different reports of sightings of the cougar in the neighbourhood over the previous few days.

She said a cougar houndsman was called in and the cougar re-appeared on a trail in the park and was shot there.

“We felt with all the reports, the attack on the dog and the condition of the cougar, it was better to err on the side of public safety,” said Leslie.

Regional district spokesman Bruce Smith said minutes after he issued a warning about the cougar attack and a plan to close Kalamoir Park temporarily, he received word the cougar had been shot.

“We were on our way to the park with signs and to close and lock the gate when we were told they had got the cougar,” said Smith.

Leslie said her officers believe they got the right cougar because of its distinctive markings. She said it was a young cat but was very thin. Tests on the animal will be conducted at a laboratory in Alberta.

Anyone who sees a cougar is asked to contact the conservation service at 1-800-663-9453. Leslie said cougars are not always killed but in this case it was felt that was the best course of action given the many sighting and attack in a residential neighbourhood.

Kalamoir Regional Park is a 26-hectare park along Okanagan Lake in West Kelowna, bordered by the Casa Loma subdivision to the north and Lakeview Heights to the west and south.


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