Tuesday, 5 May 2015

NEWSLINK: Trio of young cougars put down

Starving cougars looking for easy canine meals has resulted in the deaths of three of the big cats near Sundre over the last two weeks.
Adam Mirus, district Fish and Wildlife officer for the Sundre area, said the latest was at the hands of officers Sunday, who tracked down the cat after it had attempted to pick off a pet dog from the porch of an acreage the night before.
“It’s really a bunch of young cougars that are starving,” Mirus said.
“What’s most likely happening is they’re getting kicked out by their mothers and don’t know how to take care of themselves.”
All three slain cougars are believed to be under two years of age, adolescents from a suspected feline population boom at the same time as the local deer and elk population has ebbed.
The other young cougars killed were at the hands of landowners, Mirus said.
One was cornered under the deck of a rural property after it attempted to grab a family dog, the other was brought down chasing a domestic dog.
Mirus said much of the local deer population died off following last year’s heavy dose of snow.
At the same time, reports came in of cougars with litters of three to five kittens, uncommonly high numbers linked to an abundance of deer prior to the deadly winter.
A website where the public can report cougar and other wildlife sightings in Mountainview County (mountainviewbearsmart.com) shows seven encounters in just over a month in and around Sundre.
Despite the audacious adolescents taking aim at domestic prey, Mirus said the public shouldn’t be worried.
“They’ve always been here — it’s just a part of living in rural Alberta,” he said.
Mirus noted rural landowners are allowed under Alberta law to destroy cougars on their properties without hunting licences.
This year’s winter cougar hunting season in Alberta closed March 1.

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