Cougar killed after eating sheep near Esquimalt Lagoon
Sarah Reid, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Friday, June 7, 2019 10:50AM PDT
Last Updated Friday, June 7, 2019 6:27PM PDT
A cougar has been euthanized after attacking and killing a sheep on a property near Esquimalt Lagoon.
Mark Ridley was feeding his ducks on Thursday when he came face to face with a large male cougar who was feasting on one of his lambs.
"I was quite surprised… I looked at it and I knew exactly what it was right away, but I was still surprised," Ridley said.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says it made the decision to euthanize the large cat after it refused to leave the property and showed signs of habituation.
The service says it's never something they want to do, but the cat's behaviour means it was posing a risk to livestock and the public.
"The cougar was just sitting there eating," Ridley said. "It didn’t bother with me at all, it wasn’t scared of me and it didn’t jump up and run away."
Although Ridley owns several acres of agricultural land, his property is surrounded by subdivisions and walking trails, which was a concern for conservation officers.
Attacking Ridley's sheep might not have been the cat's first offence. Officers said a goat was attacked just days earlier in the same area. They say this was likely another case of a young male cat looking for new territory.
In April, officers relocated a young male that had wandered into the Gorge Road area. They say the cat found on Ridley's property might have been its sibling.
Ridley, who's lived on the property for over 20 years, said this is the first time he's ever seen a cougar, and hopes it's the last.
His hope is not just for his sake, but also for his sheep, who he said are too scared to return to their pasture.