File photo Four cougar sightings have been reported in the Qualicum Beach area in May.

Three cougars destroyed in Qualicum Beach after killing sheep

Four sightings in town reported to conservation office this month

Three cougars were put down by the Conservation Officer Service (COS) in Qualicum Beach on May 26 for killing sheep.

Stuart Bates, conservation officer for the Central Island, said the three cougars, a mother and two cubs, were spotted in the “outskirts” of Qualicum Beach.

Another cougar sighting was reported on social media yesterday (May 27), with the animal entering the Heritage Forest area at Hemsworth Road and Dogwood Road in Qualicum Beach.

Bates said the conservation office didn’t receive a report of a cougar in this specific area but have received four cougar sighting reports for Qualicum Beach this month and two in April.

He urges the public to call the conservation office or the R.A.P.P. line (1-877-952-7277) anytime a cougar is spotted.

RELATED: Camera captures cougar lurking in Parksville’s Foster Park neighbourhood

“We might actually be looking for it, so the more knowledge we have the better, and the same with bears,” Bates said.

He said people in urban settings should never feed raccoons, deer or bears as they are major attractants for cougars.

“As far as small pets go, keep your small pets indoors especially at night and especially house cats,” Bates said. “If you have things like chickens, you need to keep them secured, especially in at night. Cougars are generally nocturnal hunters.”

When the COS receives reports of cougar or bear sightings they investigate the animal’s behaviour to determine the course of action.

“If the cougar is just cruising through, we’re OK with that and that would depend where that is. As long as the cougar has an easy route out, we’ll let it take it,” Bates said.

More information on how to live with wildlife and steps to protect pets, visits www.wildsafebc.com.

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