When in cougar country, remember you’re the interloper

Dear editor,
Re: Cougar attack of a small boy in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
I fail to see the rationale for an extended search and destroy mission for a cougar who exhibited “predatory tendency” and “surprised” the family who were in the cougar’s territory.

Dear editor,Re: Cougar attack of a small boy in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.I fail to see the rationale for an extended search and destroy mission for a cougar who exhibited “predatory tendency” and “surprised” the family who were in the cougar’s territory.My goodness! How shocking that a cougar sneak up on what it perceives to be small prey?As well, an advisory warning all visitors of wolves and cougars in the area had been posted since Aug. 13 in the Long Beach area of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, including the Kennedy Lake day-use area where the attack occurred.I certainly do not blame anyone for enjoying the park, and I am glad to hear that the child appears to be recovering. But to read that the province’s conservation officer service had four officers on the ground with dogs, traps, and a volunteer hounds-man assisting in an ongoing search for the animal seems ridiculous!The statement that “the cougar clearly poses a risk to humans and will be destroyed when it is located” bothers me deeply. Following this logic, every bear, cougar and wolf (not to mention some local deer with attitudes) on the Island should be summarily dispatched.Kennedy Lake is adjacent to Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island and totals 258 hectares, incorporating 104 hectares of upland and 154 hectares of foreshore.  There are no developed hiking trails in the park, and camping is not permitted.For heaven’s sake! This is the home of bears and cougars.When we enter the home of predators, we need to accept the consequences of their natural behaviors and survival requirements possibly interfering with our visit!When I walk in Seal Bay Park, which is only 135 hectares, I am constantly aware that I am in the territory of bears and cougars that need to kill prey to survive, and acknowledge that risk.The last cougar attack in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve was over 20 years ago in 1984. So it appears to me that cougars pose far less of a threat to children than some family pets. If the predators come to town and are posing a threat, that’s one thing. But let’s get real and leave nature’s predators alone when they are not threatening us in our communities, but merely trying to survive in what little wilderness we have left them.B. Mellin,Comox

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