The B.C. Conservation Officer Service has confirmed that a cougar seen lounging in a Port Moody yard over the weekend was killed on Sunday due to "escalating public safety risk."
This came in the wake of escalating safety concerns after several cougar attacks on dogs. Last weekend three cougars were seen in the Bert Flinn Park area, appearing to show little fear toward humans. Others have been spotted near local elementary schools.
In an email, a senior spokesperson for the conservation service described the lack of fear as "very unnatural behaviour for cougars" and said on Sunday a cougar was tranquilized and killed near Ioco Road.
Community fears spiked after two small dogs were killed in the area.
On March 10, a 14-pound Shih Tzu-Maltese cross was attacked by a cougar near Foxwood Drive. The dog was so severely injured it had to be euthanized .
On March 12, a 22-pound German Shepherd puppy named Diaz was dragged away by a cougar — despite a valiant fight by the owner to save the dog, destined to be trained for search and rescue.
Three other dogs have been attacked by cougars since August.
But it was the lack of fear shown by the cougars that was most concerning, according to the conservation service.
"This behaviour indicates these cougars are highly habituated to human presence and comfortable living and hunting non-natural prey in a residential setting," said a media spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in an email.
"This is an extreme public safety risk."
Since April 2020 the service has received 82 cougar reports from Anmore, Belcarra and Port Moody. The conservation service said three cougars were spotted near Bert Flinn Park this week — and seemed unafraid of officers, despite efforts to "haze" or scare them off.
Local dog walkers have begun outfitting some small dogs in spiky vests in an effort to deter the predators on the trails around Bert Flinn Park.
People in the area are urged to keep pets leashed and be wary when walking outside with small children. They should report sightings to the RAPP line 1-877-952-7277.