Cougar was seen last week in Cottonwood Park in west Pitt Meadows. (THE NEWS/files)

Cougar kills pregnant goat in B.C. suburb

Conservation officers called late Monday in Maple Ridge

A Whonnock resident is reporting that her goat was killed by a cougar Monday night in east Maple Ridge.

Camille Quigley-Anderson said that her goat was pregnant when it was killed.

The incident follows several sightings this summer of cougars in Maple Ridge during a hot spell where conservation officers say it’s difficult for cougars to find prey because animals don’t move around as much when temperatures are high.

The City of Pitt Meadows also put out a warning last week when a cougar was spotted in Cottonwood Park in the western part of the city.

Quigley-Anderson made the comment on Whonnock Neighbours Facebook group, saying Monday’s incident happened between 8:20 p.m. and 9:20 p.m. She added electric fences help but cougars can jump over those. The animal had been stalking the llamas on their property during the daytime, she said.

A Whonnock resident of 40 years, Cathy Jane said she’s never seen so many cougars in the area as in the past few years.

Conservation officer Todd Hunter said two officers went to the farm last night after 10 p.m. More officers will be out there this morning.

“We’ll go and take a look and see what we’ve got. Once we confirm everything, we’ll determine a course of action.”

He said two months ago a large, male cougar was preying on goats at a neighbouring property and conservation officers put down that cat.

“Another has obviously arrived in the area,” Hunter said.

He advised residents that if an animal is killed by a cougar, to leave the carcass in place, which encourages the cougar to return to the site, making it easier to track or shoot.

If the cougar is wounded, it makes it more difficult because it could kill tracking dogs that are trying to tree the animal.

The Ministry of Environment Protection and Sustainability recommends the most effective and natural way to prevent conflicts with wildlife in urban areas is to put garbage, birdseed, compost and pet food away, and to keep fruit from trees off the ground.

Communities where attractants are managed properly have less human-wildlife conflicts and fewer animals destroyed.

Hunter also stressed that good animal husbandry practices on farms, such as securing livestock, is crucial to deterring attacks by predators.

In the event that you encounter a cougar:

• Stay calm and keep the cougar in view, pick up children immediately. Children frighten easily and the noise and movements they make could provoke an attack. Back away slowly, ensuring that the animal has a clear avenue of escape. Children should also walk in front of adults while hiking.

• Make yourself look as large as possible and keep the cougar in front of you at all times. Never run or turn your back on a cougar, sudden movement may provoke an attack.

• If a cougar shows interest or follows you, respond aggressively, maintain eye contact with the cougar, show your teeth and make loud noise. Arm yourself with rocks or sticks as weapons.

• If a cougar attacks, fight back, convince the cougar you are a threat and not prey, use anything you can as a weapon. Focus your attack on the cougar’s face and eyes. Use rocks, sticks, bear spray or personal belongings as weapons. You are trying to convince the cougar that you are a threat, and are not prey.

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