Sgt. Steve Jacobi from the Conservation Officer Service says the young cougar was about 18 months old and weighed 30-40 lbs.

Sgt. Steve Jacobi from the Conservation Officer Service says the young cougar was about 18 months old and weighed 30-40 lbs.

Cougar shot and killed at Cultus Lake

An aggressive cougar that terrorized hikers on Teapot Hill Wednesday morning has been found and killed.

An overly aggressive cougar has been found and killed at the edge of Entrance Bay Campground in Cultus Lake Provincial Park on Thursday.

At about 3 p.m., the young cougar held a family of four, including two young girls, hostage on the Seven Sisters trail, about 60 feet up from the campground. The cougar was hissing and growling.

“It was actually really close to the trail and wouldn’t let the people come down,” said conservation officer Sgt. Steve Jacobi.

Local B.C. Parks ranger, Robert Wilson, immediately responded to the emergency call. Wilson was first on scene, fired one shot, killing the cougar instantly.

“I just assessed the situation, made sure it would be safe to shoot it, and unfortunately had to do exactly that,” said Wilson. “Obviously, I would much rather have to deal with killing a cougar than trying to explain to some parents why we allowed the cougar to continue on with this pattern of aggressive behaviour, and had that opportunity, and not take it, and have it hurt a small child or a small pet.”

Authorities received about a dozen complaints about an aggressive cougar in less than two days, which Jacobi said is “extremely rare.”

The animal caused chaos on Wednesday when it approached several hikers in a threatening fashion. The cougar chased one woman, causing the evacuation and closure of the Teapot Hill trail. People saw the cougar passing through campgrounds at Cultus Lake Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

“After that, we started bringing out the bloodhounds, and chasing the cougar, and trying to find it,” said Jacobi.

Conservation officers are now ending the chase.

“We’re confident that this is the one that’s been causing the grief over the past couple of days,” said Jacobi.

The cougar is about 18 months old, thin, and weighs 30 to 40 pounds. It was likely recently set loose by its mother, and was trying to figure out roaming territory. Authorities haven’t checked yet if it is a male or female.

“Due to its obvious emaciation, it looks like it was having trouble finding actual food,” said Wilson. “It was looking for easy prey, and people’s dogs are typically easy prey. As it continued to grow more and more desperate for food, it (showed) escalating behaviour, approaching campsites with people in them. At the end there, on a small trail, actually refusing to allow people with small children to go by.”

According to Jacobi, such behaviour is very unusual. Cougars will generally assess people and leave.

“But it was trying to attack dogs, even when they were on a leash, and acting extremely aggressive, and bold,” said Jacobi. “Cougar attacks on people are rare, but when they act like this, they get this bold, that’s the type of cougar we need to get out of the population.”

Authorities always put down aggressive wildlife, such as cougars or black bears, rather than relocating them. Cougars remain a public safety threat even when moved to less urban areas.

“We do not relocate cougars…It’s threatening to humans. It’s a public safety threat. So that’s why we take it out of the population,” said Jacobi. “There are no wilds in British Columbia to take cougars that they’re not going to encounter people. There isn’t anywhere safe to take them, when they’re acting like that.”

Relocated cougars often don’t survive, and in this case it would have been a “death sentence.”

“It would be torture to relocate a cougar. They’re not going to adapt to a new habitat. Even a black bear, the success rate on relocating a black bear isn’t very high…It’s very, very hard on them,” said Jacobi.

Surrey resident Jacquie Stebner, a longtime camper in the area, witnessed the dead cougar. She thinks she saw the cougar a couple of nights ago at the campground, thinking it was a raccoon, or a bobcat, because of its small size.

“It’s sad. It’s for the best, but it’s still sad,” said Stebner of the cougar being put down. “I’m on the verge of tears. But it can’t be helped. We are in their territory, but there’s children.”

The cougar will be inspected, after which it will likely be donated to a local First Nations group.

Authorities will immediately re-open the Teapot Hill hiking trail on Thursday.

Jacobi emphasized that cougars are common in the area.

“It’s fairly common for cougars to be in the entire Columbia Valley. It’s a great deer population in here. Rabbits, everything else. There are lots of cougars that come through here, and live in this area. But there’s not usually a conflict,” said Jacobi.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A police vehicle turns on to Landing Drive on the Skwah Reserve on Thursday, March 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
One man charged after allegedly pointing firearm at Chilliwack RCMP officer

Richard Joseph Williams faces 6 charges after March incident near McCammon elementary and Skwah

Linnea Labbee outside the Chilliwack Law Courts on April 1, 2021 on day 16 of her trial in BC Supreme Court where she is charged in connection with the fatal hit-and-run of a 78-year-old woman on Mary Street on Dec. 1, 2016. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crown seeking jail time for 72-year-old Chilliwack woman found guilty in fatal hit-and-run

Trial of Linnea Labbee who struck and killed 78-year-old woman in 2016 ended Monday

RCMP patch. (File)
Young prolific offender from Hope faces another raft of charges

Jacob Paul Sihata charged in 3rd set of serious incidents since he was 19

Former Merritt Centennial and current Chilliwack Chief Jackson Munro (left) evades Merritt’s Chase Cook during a weekend BCHL game at the Chilliwack Coliseum. (Darren Francis photo)
Goalies lead Chilliwack Chiefs to pair of wins in weekend BCHL action

Mathieu Caron picked up a shutout Friday and Jakob Gullmes earned his first BCHL victory Sunday

Environment Canada says the Eastern Fraser Valley will enjoy plenty of sunshine this week. (Black Press News File)
Sunny weather to stay around all week in Eastern Fraser Valley

Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Hope all forecasted for a week free of rainfall

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
Puppies stolen during weekend break-and-enter in South Surrey

Surrey RCMP seeking public’s assistance in locating three American Bulldog puppies

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Mounties say they “corralled” four Ford Mustangs April 4 after an officer saw the muscle cars racing down 184 Street near 53 Avenue at about 10 p.m. (File Photo)
Mounties impound four Mustangs

Surrey RCMP say they seized four cars for street racing

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

Most Read