It’s rare for a conservation officer to be attacked by a cougar — but that’s what happened in the Kootenay town of Salmo this week.
Chris Doyle from the Conservation Service says the officer was responding to a complaint about a cougar trying to get into a home Tuesday night.
“The conservation officer was attacked without provocation by a juvenile cougar. The officer was forced to kill the cougar to stop the attack,” says Doyle.
The officer from Castlegar suffered minor injuries.
Doyle says the cougar was emaciated.
“Maybe this cougar had been separated or had been dispersed from its family for some time and wasn’t successful in hunting for whatever reason,” adds Doyle who was not aware of an attack like this on a officer in his 23 years with the service.
Inspector Tobe Sprado says the loose snow conditions in that area makes it tougher for cougars to hunt their normal prey.
“So what happens is, they start to come into communities looking for an easier food source, generally pets, cats and dogs and that sort of thing,” says Sprado.
Sprado says the Salmo area had had 10 cougar complaints already this month.
In another earlier incident in the Salmo area Tuesday that is believed to be unrelated, a female healthy cougar was put down by the same conservation officer about ten kilometres away, after the cat was severely injured after getting hit by a pick up truck.