This cougar, eventually shot while stalking a police officer, was first reported to RCMP on June 2, 10 a.m. (Contributed)

Cougar shot by RCMP will be returned to First Nations

A cougar that threatened a residential Princeton neighbourhood prior to being killed by RCMP will be returned to First Nations.

Sgt. Robert Hughes shot the cougar as it stalked him near the Deerview Motel on Highway 3.

Hughes said he believes the Upper Similkameen Indian Band will have the cat for cultural and ceremonial purposes.

“It is absolutely the best outcome for the community, the First Nations, and the animal,” said Hughes.

On June 2, police received two reports of a cougar in town limits. It was also photographed in a backyard on Westridge Drive.

During a search with another RCMP officer and a wildlife Conservation Officer, Hughes was alone when he saw the cougar tracking him.

“I don’t know. I just knew something and I turned around…I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck.”

He saw the animal, sniffing at his tracks, about 40 metres away.

Hughes said he took no pleasure in killing the cat, but understands that an adult cougar, lingering in an populated area, could not be trusted to act normally. “I did it for the safety of the community. We have kids coming out of school and this is not a small kitty…It’s a predator.”

Related: Cougar spotted at Princeton high school

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