Friday, October 03, 2008

Cougar Alert

Yesterday I was speaking with one of our neighbours.
A few days ago she was out walking with a couple of her friends with their two dogs. One of the dogs was on a leash and the other running free alongside. Unbeknownst to all of them, they were being tracked by a cougar - also known as a mountain lion or puma.
It ran up silently from behind and went straight for the dog on the leash, but when the other smaller dog bolted, the cougar went after it. The cat had it in its powerful jaws in seconds flat! Poor little Otis didn't stand a chance. The three adult women let out blood-curdling screams and the big cat didn't turn a hair.
The conservation officer was notified who, in turn, hired the skill of our local cougar tracker and his dogs. They had the cat treed in no time and the poor thing, who was only trying to survive, was quickly dispatched with a bullet.
Beth was quite distraught about the death of the cougar and I have mixed feelings, as well.
Could it have maybe been relocated?
Probably not. It would have returned to its regular hunting territory and continued to hunt the easy domestic prey.
I have been driving the children to and from school, as well. The location of the attack is right on their school route. Beth had seen the cougar last weekend at the cemetery and was frightened, even though she was inside her own vehicle. The cat was BIG.
Apparently there are still a couple of cougars passing through the area, as they do every Fall. The bears are quite active this time of year, as well. They come down into the valley from the high country to forage and stock up on fruit from the abundant trees and berry bushes to prepare for winter hibernation.
Like any animal, we protect our own and fight back when threatened. Where we lack body mass, strength and agility to fight a large carnivour, we make up with intelligence and use that with which to strike back.
We live in a part of the world where we have to share the land with many other animals - some docile and some downright dangerous.
We have to respect that.