Cougar kittens killed, dismembered by poachers on Vancouver Island: conservation service

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A cougar kitten is seen in an undated photo. Two kittens were illegally shot and killed on Vancouver Island, according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. (Shutterstock - image credit)
A cougar kitten is seen in an undated photo. Two kittens were illegally shot and killed on Vancouver Island, according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. (Shutterstock - image credit)

B.C.'s Conservation Officer Service is investigating after poachers killed two cougar kittens on Vancouver Island.

The service said the cubs, only a few months old, were shot and killed near Hill 60 Forest Service Road in the Cowichan Valley within the last week.

At least one of the kittens had been beheaded and both had their paws removed.

Conservation officers found the kittens during a regular patrol on Tuesday.

Officers shocked by rare killings

"It's shocking to us as well, the front-line officers, to find that sort of thing," said Robin Sano, a conservation officer based in Duncan, B.C.

"We're just really trying to find out who did this. It's pretty upsetting."

It's illegal across the province to kill cougar kittens — those with spots or under one year of age — as well as cougars in a family unit. Sano said the poachers in this case could face several charges under the B.C. Wildlife Act.

Sano said it's rare to see cubs killed and doubts it was an accident.

"There was no mistaking that those cats were kittens. They were three months old and a very small size, so it would impossible for anybody to take those for [adult] cats that could be legally taken," he said.

Sano said the service had not yet established why the kittens were killed. It's possible someone wanted the head or paws for a trophy, he said.

Hunting adult cougars is permitted in B.C. during a specified regulated season.

Anyone with information about the cubs on Vancouver Island is asked to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline.

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