Two more sheep killings in Roberts Creek were likely the work of coyotes, not cougars, according to Sunshine Coast Conservation Officer Murray Smith.
He said officers responded to a report about a week ago of a sheep killed on Maskell Road at nightfall. Poor lighting made it difficult to identify the wounds, which help conservation officers determine the predator.
Although officers were fairly confident a coyote preyed on the sheep, they set a cougar trap because there had been multiple reports of cougars attacking livestock in the area in the weeks prior.
“If nothing comes, it usually means it’s a coyote,” Smith said, noting no animal returned for the deceased sheep. “I went back last Wednesday and I had a chance to look at the carcass a little better in the light, and you could see coyote teeth marks in the hide, so I know for a fact it was a coyote.”
Another lamb was taken on Christmas Road later in the week, Smith said, adding a coyote could have been the culprit in that attack as well; however, the lamb’s body was never found.
“We could speculate that was a cougar, but we could be totally wrong,” Smith said.
The best way to keep livestock safe from cougars is to keep them inside a barn or paddock at night with a radio playing to deter the cats from getting too close. Cougars can easily jump over tall fences so conservation officers note fencing will not keep the creatures out.
Coyotes respond well to fencing, however.
“A coyote will always go under a fence, it will never go over. So as long as your fence is tight to the ground a coyote will not get into your sheep pen. That’s really the key,” Smith said.
Conservation encourages Coasters to report sightings of cougars and coyotes near populated areas by calling 1-877-952-7277.
If you encounter a cougar, make yourself look big, pick up small children or pets, don’t take your eyes off the cat, and back away slowly. If a cougar attacks, make every effort to fight back and focus your blows on the animal’s face and eyes.
For more on how to deal with cougars and other wildlife, go to www.env.gov.bc.ca/cos/ click on Wildlife/Human Interaction and the search the Species Pages.