(Black Press file photo)

Cougar euthanized after eating lamb on property near Esquimalt Lagoon

Cougar was not deterred by human presence, conservation officer says

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service euthanized a cougar after it was spotted eating a lamb on a property near the Esquimalt Lagoon Thursday morning.

Mark Ridley lives on a property near Seafield Road in Colwood and keeps lambs. He said he spotted the cougar eating one of his lambs and called it in.

“I walked right past it,” Ridley said. “It was about 15 feet away from me. It wasn’t scared it just looked at me and didn’t bother moving. It just kept laying down there eating my lamb.”

READ ALSO: WATCH: Cougar saunters through Metchosin yard

Ridley said he has never dealt with anything like this before but is now left with 11 lambs on his property.

West Shore RCMP confirmed that a report about a cougar attacking a sheep at a property near Seafield Road came in around 5:30 a.m. Thursday. Const. Nancy Saggar of West Shore RCMP said there were no reports of the cougar stalking or attacking humans.

Scott Norris, a conservation officer with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, said officers attended the scene after it was called in and said it was an “interesting situation” because the cougar did not leave with Ridley around.

“Unfortunately, given the nature of the location and the behaviour of the cougar, we euthanized it on the property,” Norris said.

READ ALSO: West Shore RCMP receives five cougar reports in two days in Colwood

Norris noted there are subdivisions and walking trails in the area. He said the fact that the cougar killed livestock in a confined area near houses coupled with it not leaving despite human presence showed more of an elevated risk, leading to the decision to euthanize it.

When asked to describe the cougar, Ridley laughed and said, “it looked like a cougar.”

“It was a fair size, and male.”

Norris advised people who see a cougar to back away slowly and not turn and run. If the cougar starts to approach, Norris said people should wave their arms in the air while making noise and being aggressive and assertive.

“Let it know you’re not prey,” Norris said. “If it does come towards you and attacks you, use whatever weapons you have like rocks, sticks, or whatever to deter that cougar from trying to attack you.”

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


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