Cougar attacks frighten B.C. village
Locals take evening walks armed with shotguns
Cougars prowling a tiny village in the southeastern Interior of B.C. are attacking pets and terrifying the people who live there.
For weeks, at least two cougars have been stalking prey in the village of Edgewater, on the Western slope of the Rocky Mountains.
The cats have been spotted all over the community of 500, prowling through people's backyards and parks, even bedding down at the local cemetery.
'Guys are going for their evening walk with a shotgun.'—Claudia Heinrich, Edgewater B.C.
The animals are stalking people's pets. Cats and dogs have been killed and they've even attacked horses on Claudia Heinrich's farm.
"From the scratches on the back you can see it made multiple attempts to jump up in the back," she said.
"People in Edgewater are freaked out right now. Guys are going for their evening walk with a shotgun. No one wants to let their kids play outside anymore."
One cougar destroyed
Cougars are native to the area, but rarely so visible or aggressive.
Conservation officer Lawrence Umsonst says he suspects the cougars are juveniles who have just been let loose by their mother, and may not have the skills to hunt deer, their normal prey.
"They have a really healthy deer population living in town and they have several green belts as well, so cougars are going to move through that area."
He says one of the cats has been destroyed.
"We tried using predator calls to call them into the open, those efforts failed.... Then we called in some hounds one morning. And we were lucky enough that a person flagged us down that had seen the cougars 20 minutes earlier. We were able to pick up a good scent and tree one of the cats and euthanize it."
He says the two cougars weren't travelling together that morning, and the second cat is still around, fraying nerves.
On Monday an 18-month-old boy was attacked by a cougar in Ucluelet, B.C. on Vancouver Island. Conservation officers have been hunting for the animal ever since, but it has not yet been tracked down.
With files from Bob Keating