Kayakers were concerned after spotting a cougar on Newcastle Island last week. (Ândria Lopes Dos Santos photo)

Cougar shot near B.C. marina

Police were called to complaints of a cougar climbing through boats and sheds at the Nanaimo Yacht Club

Nanaimo RCMP have shot a cougar at a Nanaimo dock.

According to police, the animal was shot at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday after officers were called about a complaint of a cougar climbing through boats and the boat sheds at Nanaimo Yacht Club, located 400 Stewart Ave. on the shoreline of Newcastle Channel.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said the cat was shot twice while it was in the water.

“It was climbing through boats and it was also seen around the fish [cleaning] station as well,” O’Brien said. “Based on what they saw and based on reports that a cougar had been seen in or around Newcastle Island, our members thought it was prudent and taking into consideration public safety, they were required to destroy the animal.”

The animal’s body was retrieved this morning by B.C. conservation officers at 11:30 a.m.

Acting sergeant Stuart Bates, B.C. conservation officer, said given that the cougar, a young male, was in the water, tranquilizing it was not an option, because the tranquilizer drug takes about 20 minutes to take affect and there is a high risk of the animal falling in the water and drowning. Also, police do not have tranquilizer equipment.

Bates was on Newcastle Island on Tuesday investigating cougar sightings and said there is a high likelihood the cougar shot was the one spotted on the island.

“It’s most likely,” Bates said. “It is possible that it wasn’t, but it’s also possible that, because it’s a young male about two years old, sometimes when young males disperse, brothers, they hang out together for a little bit, so we’re going to hedge our bets and leave our traps out at Newcastle Island for a little bit. Guys are over there checking them just right now and we’ll leave them set just for a little bit just to make sure.”

Bates, who collected the shot cat’s body Wednesday, said young male cougars leave their mothers at about 20 months of age.

“It’s not the outcome we wanted, but talking to the police, they really didn’t have much choice,” he said.

READ ALSO: Cougar kills house cat on Vancouver Island



photos@nanaimobulletin.com

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