Orphaned baby cougar finds temporary home in conservation officer's garage

A two-month-old cougar was found hiding under a deck at a home near Williams Lake, B.C., and will be moved to its new home at the Greater Vancouver Zoo early next week.

'My wife really thinks it's quite special,' says Ron LeBlanc

A baby cougar was found hiding under a pile of chairs at a Williams Lake, B.C., home. (Ron LeBlanc)

A baby cougar is currently living in a B.C. conservation officer's garage after it was found starving and frostbitten earlier this week under the deck of a home near Williams Lake, B.C. 

The two-month-old cougar kitten will be moved to the Greater Vancouver Zoo on Monday. 

Residents who were aware of the kitten called B.C. Conservation Officer Services on Sunday to report it and officers paid the cat a visit the next day. Sure enough, they found a young cougar hiding under the deck, beneath some chairs.

Using some sardines and lamb, the officers managed to trap the cub.

"Part of the reason why I decided to become a conservation officer was to be up close and personal with our wildlife," said Williams Lake conservation officer Ron LeBlanc.

The officers then tranquilized it so they could examine it for injuries. Other than the frostbite on its ears and being underweight, the cub was in good condition, Leblanc said.

Until it could be transported to a wildlife facility, someone had to take care of the kitten and monitor its health. So LeBlanc offered to keep it in his garage.

"My wife really thinks it's quite special," he said. "She's just overwhelmed by the little guy."

Conservation officers examine a two-month-old cougar who was found hiding under the deck of a home near Williams Lake, B.C. (Ron LeBlanc)

Conservation officers believe the mother of the cub may be a cougar that was hit by a car one week ago. When they determined the deceased cougar was still lactating when she was hit, they assumed kittens were nearby, but none had turned up — until now.

LeBlanc said because the cub would likely die in the wild — either from the cold, starvation or predators — it will be taken to the Greater Vancouver Zoo.

"I'm quite happy and I hope in the future I'll have a chance to go visit him," LeBlanc said.  

"We deal with wildlife every day and often it ends in having to be put down. It's a real nice change of pace to try to save one every now and then."

With files from Jenifer Norwell

About the Author

Courtney Dickson

Broadcast and Digital Journalist

Courtney Dickson is a journalist working in Kamloops, B.C. Email her at courtney.dickson@cbc.ca with story tips.