- Published on Wednesday, 04 July 2012 10:32
- Written by Pat Kolafa | © DrumhellerMail.com
Fish and Wildlife officers are still on the lookout for cougars as another calf was killed in the Rockyford area.
The Mail reported in the June 20 edition that the Newell family lost two calves. Last week their neighbour the Kathols also lost an animal.
Fish and Wildlife officer Jim Songhurst said so far about seven animals have been killed. They have brought dogs out to track the cougars but so far have not captured any animals.
“We’ve gotten reports of some seeing three cougars, some seeing two and some seeing one; all we know is we’ve got a cat,” said Songhurst.
His advice to ranchers is to carefully check their cows regularly.
“Drive through them and make sure you have them all. A couple of the carcasses we have located have just been bones, and we cannot confirm if it is a kill. The only way we are going to get this stopped is if we get fresh ones,” said Songhurst.
He said if a rancher sees a fresh kill to contact Fish and Wildlife right away, also to look for signs such as ravens and magpies in the area.
“Get a hold of us right away so we can respond,” said Songhurst.
It appears the terrain is making it difficult to capture the animals.
“A lot of people don’t understand we are not dealing with cats like we do in the east slopes or the mountains where the cougars are close by their kills. When the dogs are let loose they chase them up a tree and it is all over with,” he said. “Out here, if we are going to chase them up a tree we maybe going for a while, and they are bedding down away from the kill site.”
He adds another challenge is because of the human activity, a scent can be harder to track. He said for example if a cougar decides to travel along a road, and then a number of vehicles travels the same road, the scent could be lost.
He understands people are concerned in the area, but so far he said there has been very minimal contact with humans or even in farmyards.
“Is it a concern to the public? Yes it is because we don’t know where the cats are…it is such a vast area, there is so much food for them, it’s giving us a run for our money,” said Songhurst.
He said if they are not able to get a fresh scent or a good sighting to go on, they may have to go back to square one.
“We are trying to get it resolved, but if not we may have to go out and start all over again by baiting it in, but these cats are doing different things than some of the cats we deal with,” said Songhurst.