Dear Editor:

According to the Ministry of Environments Conservation Officer Service Program Plan (see page 18 at Conservation Officers are the first responder to human-wildlife conflicts. (They) possess the necessary training, experience and equipment to deal with threats to public safety that may arise from human-wildlife conflicts.

To reduce the instances of human-wildlife conflict over the long term, (they) participate in numerous outreach and stewardship activities.

Reducing these conflicts is essential to preserving public safety, conserving biodiversity, reducing property damage, improving animal welfare and expending public resources more effectively and efficiently.

So, which part of the conserving biodiversity and improving animal welfare was officer Greg Kruger adhering to when he killed (see last weeks Pioneer story Conservation officers kill cougar on the prowl) the partially blind cougar that was becoming too habituated to humans? Did reporter Steve Hubrecht ask the officer if other courses of action were considered?

I am not naive. I understand that a cougar is a predator, but the same initiative it took him to drive up to CastleRock, load his gun with bullets and kill the cougar could have easily played out very differently. Did he consider relocation at all, or was killing the only plausible response? In my laymans opinion, he could have reached for the dart gun rather then the hand gun or rifle, loaded tranquilizers rather than bullets, still pulled a trigger, still physically removed the animal, but rather than destroying it (which I am sure costs the taxpayers something), he could have relocated it, letting it live. Same effort, different result.

All people want to do is kill animals. Kill the deer, kill the cougar.

We share the mountains with the abundance of wildlife, so maybe if we want to peacefully coexist with them, we should build fences around our properties and communities, cover our garbage cans and pick the fruit in our gardens and hanging from our trees.

If, and only if, those options dont work, should we explore other, perhaps more severe, possibilities.

Were supposed to be smart with the capacity for reason and empathy, but sometimes were just barbarians with weapons, and thats a very sad thing to know.

Stephen Lebovits