By Steve Hubrecht
A cougar that became too comfortable with close proximity to humans was killed in CastleRock on Thursday, January 22nd, but another was spotted in the area the day after the first one was killed.
The cougar that was killed was blind in one eye, and exhibited much bolder behaviour and appeared less fearful of human presence than most cougars, according to local conservation officer Greg Kruger.
It had become far too comfortable up there. Its a residential area with a lot of young families with small kids, he said. It had initially appeared to be exhibiting normal cougar behaviour (appearing frightened of and avoiding humans), but then on Thursday morning, we got three separate calls from residents in CastleRock.
The calls all reported the cougar walking casually around the neighbourhood in daylight, including strolling up onto peoples back decks.
It was too used to prowling around the houses and thats just too much of a public safety risk, said Mr. Kruger.
He said the conservation officers went to CastleRock, tracked and then killed the cougar (which was the subject of a story in last weeks Pioneer) under the deck of an occupied home.
But the next day, Mr. Kruger said there were two calls from the same person on the morning on Friday, January 23rd, reporting a cougar walking through the CastleRock area.
Mr. Kruger said that, according to both reports, the new cougar appeared to be just passing through, leaving quickly and demonstrating a healthy amount of fear for humans.
Then the conservation office had a call-in reporting cougar tracks on Saturday, January 24th, but there was no confirmed sighting of the cat.
After January 24th we have not received any other reports of cougar sightings for Invermere, which includes CastleRock, so were hopeful this cougar has pushed back to its natural limits outside of the town, Mr. Kruger told The Pioneer just prior to Wednesdays press deadline.
Were pretty confident that the cougar we killed earlier was the one that had been staying in the CastleRock community for several days prior, he said.
Mr. Kruger reminds people living on the fringe of town to be particularly vigilant around dusk and dawn, especially in cases in which small kids are involved.