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6 cougars killed near Victoria after attacks on sheep farms

Conservation officers have captured and killed six cougars near Victoria this year in response to multiple predatory attacks on sheep farms.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says it has dedicated "significant resources in response to cougar complaints in the Metchosin area over the last several months," but adds that it is not the agency's responsibility to create "predator-free zones" for livestock and other domestic animals.

"Cougar sightings are not unusual in rural areas, particularly those bordered by forests. The majority of Vancouver Island is considered cougar country," the conservation service said in a statement to CTV News on Monday.

"It is not the role – nor is it operationally feasible – for conservation officers to be on standby to immediately respond to a cougar/livestock issue."

The owners of the Parry Bay Sheep Farm in Metchosin estimated that cougars had killed 41 of their lambs and injured eight others by May 18.

"It has been a terrible year so far for predation and the bears haven't even started," says a statement on the farm's Facebook page.

The B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy says conservation officers are working with Metchosin farmers to minimize the number of sheep and other animals lost to cougars.

Conservation officers are encouraging farmers to use electric fences or guard dogs to dissuade cougars from entering livestock areas, and recommending farmers keep their livestock in barns overnight.

"While the COS recognizes losing sheep is frustrating, it is not the mandate of the COS to create predator-free zones," the agency said.

"Conservation officers must prioritize public safety calls for service as the highest priority, such as those related to dangerous hunting or dangerous wildlife in urban and rural settings that pose a significant risk to human safety."

The conservation service says it will continue to monitor cougar activity in the Metchosin area and will respond as necessary when public safety in endangered. Top Stories


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