British Columbia

3 cougars killed after attacking Vancouver Island farm animals

The animals didn't show any fear of humans and were hunting too close to the farmhouse, according to the Ministry of Environment.

Adult female, 2 young males killed lamb, injured donkey, chased pigs near farmhouse: ministry

Three cougars were shot and killed after a Vancouver Island farmer reported that one of his lambs had been killed on Saturday. Two of the cats were juveniles and one was an adult female. (Fotolia)

Three cougars have been killed after hunting livestock on a farmer's Vancouver Island property over the weekend.

The farmer phoned RCMP after the animals killed one of his lambs on Saturday, according to the Ministry of Environment.

The owner of the Comox Valley property said he'd tried to shoot the cat after it continued to chase after his pigs. He thought he hit it in the back, but the animal ran off. 

Mounties called in conservation officers, who found two more cougars behind the lamb pen. RCMP shot and killed them.

A donkey ended up with a scratched ear after the cougar attack on Saturday. The Ministry of Environment said the animal was likely defending other livestock. (Shutterstock)

Neither of those cougars had previous gunshot wounds, so conservation officers returned with tracking dogs at dawn to search for another one. 

A third cougar came to the property around 6:30 a.m. It was shot after it didn't run from the dogs or approaching officers. Instead, it crouched down and watched them get closer.

In a statement, the Ministry of Environment said it was necessary to shoot the animals because they'd been hunting close to the farmer's home, putting the family at risk.

The animals — two young males and an adult female — didn't display any fear of the officers or their dogs either, which isn't normal behaviour.

The ministry said none of the cougars had gunshot wounds, but that officers weren't searching for a fourth. 

The lamb was the only animal killed by the cougars. The ministry said a pet donkey ended up with a scratched ear after "very likely" defending other livestock.