A conservation officer is back on the job after he was attacked by a cougar Tuesday night near Salmo.
The attack happened during the officer’s second call for a cougar near the West Kootenay community, deputy chief conservation officer Chris Doyle told reporters Wednesday.
The officer had responded to a mature female cougar hit by a pickup truck, and euthanized the animal.
“Immediately after this incident, the same officer responded to a complaint of a cougar attempting to enter the window of a residence near the community of Salmo,” Doyle said. This cougar was approximately 10 kilometres away from the first one.
A male cougar, young and emaciated, attacked “without provocation,” and the officer was forced to kill the animal. He himself suffered minor injuries.
“In my career with COS (conservation officer service), it’s the first time an officer has been injured by a cougar that the officer was responding to a complaint on,” said Doyle. Service dogs have been injured and killed before, meanwhile.
Acting officer-in-charge for the West Kootenay region Tobe Sprado said it’s unclear if the two cougar attacks are related. A mature female cougar and two juveniles had been reported in the area.
That’s part of a rise in sightings in the Salmo area.
“There’s been a total of 14 complaints since April and of those 14, 10 of them were this February,” said Sprado.