In the middle of researching non-lethal solutions for cougars in urban areas following reports of a planned killing of the wild cats in Gibsons, The Fur-Bearers were informed another cougar was shot and killed in North Vancouver.
Both of these news reports follow the killing of a cougar in very similar circumstances last month in West Vancouver.
These killings are in addition to natural deaths (disease, lack of resources, age), accidental deaths (vehicular collisions) and intentional deaths (trapping, hunting).
It’s time to ask the hard questions of our government.
Cougars are allegedly killed in conflict situations – or situations in which conflict may arise – because they cannot be relocated and are carnivorous (meaning they only eat meats), according to media reports. Despite the lack of evidence of these claims, big cats are co-existing with human populations around the world.
Additionally, if the number of cougar conflicts are on the rise (again, there is no hard evidence from those who are killing them) then why isn’t this being studied with a critical eye? There is always a cause and effect in nature: behaviours are altered because of change, such as resources or habitat being modified. Could it be the type of development occurring around the lower Mainland? Could it be from resource extrapolation affecting habitat, as is the case with Mountain Caribou? Or is it that hunters and trappers are pushing the population too hard, forcing them to find new ranges for resources?
We don’t know – and neither do the people pulling the triggers. And that is unacceptable.
Demand that Premier Christy Clark take action to institute significant changes in the actions of Conservation Officers, provide appropriate funding and personnel for the departments, and immediately instigate studies on native wildlife populations and behaviour before more animals are killed.
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