Remember that cougar that was shot to death outside a Calgary, Alberta hospital in September? The provincial government promised a full review of how wildlife officers handled the incident amid outcry from the public. The conclusion: nothing was amiss.
“The review found that euthanizing the cougar was the most appropriate response to ensure public safety, particularly as it was in an urban area,” the report finally issued last week says.
“Cougars are large predators whose speed and agility can make them difficult to contain and/or locate after being hit with a tranquilizer dart.”
When the animal could not be successfully tranquilized (a wildlife officer had the safety latched on the trigger), a rifle, followed by a Glock and a 12 gauge shotgun was used to kill the animal, the report found.
“The good intentions of the officers to attempt to tranquilize a free-ranging cougar in an urban environment were misguided and came as a direct result of pressure, real and perceived, placed on them by the public, media and political/social factors. In such situations, officers often feel compelled to conduct a soft catch of an animal rather than euthanize it on scene in public view. This review has confirmed that in other jurisdictions, they believe the safest and most effective way to respond to a cougar in an urban setting is to euthanize the animal using a suitable firearm.”
A day after the report was released, wildlife officers shot a moose running loose within Calgary city limits. It posed a danger to the public, officials told CTV, but let wildlife offers let a second moose mosey out of the urban setting on its own.
— Brad Everson (@BradEverson) December 5, 2014
— Mike Fotiou (@MikeFotiou) December 5, 2014
With its cougar report, the Alberta government issued this tally of wildlife killed by officials because the critters posed a danger to the public.
Justified or not, may depend on your perspective. But it just seems sad that almost 6,000 critters have been killed in the province since 2009. And, that doesn’t include those killed by hunters or poachers or those struck by vehicle and trains.
Photo Colin Forster/YouTube