WATCH: A Saanich hobby farmer was distraught this morning after finding six of his lambs dead. Monica Martinez reports.
A warning, some of the images in this story may be disturbing to some viewers.
Six lambs, only four weeks old, were found slaughtered on a rural Saanich property.
Hobby farmer Tye O’Conner was distressed to find them, some dragged off into the woods, others left in the fenced area.
“I’m upset. It’s really sad to lose a lot of beautiful lambs right before Easter particularly,” he said.
“It’s usually been a dog attack. It’s been the first time on our property in fifty years there’s been a cougar attack.”
Conservation officers first came out to Charlton Road Monday afternoon, after a cougar killed some livestock down the street.
They set a trap, and caught a large cat, a young male under a year old.
But with more kills Tuesday morning, it means more cougars in the area.
“It sort of has the hallmarks of a mother teaching young cats how to feed,” said Conservation Officer Sgt. Scott Norris. “So they’ll come in, they’ll kill a number (of animals), they just drink the blood and move on to the next one and that is what’s happened with most of these lambs.”
With the public at risk, the only option for conservation officers is to find and kill the cougars.
“With cougars like this, when the mom is teaching the young ones that farms and houses equal food, that puts all our farms and public safety at risk unfortunately. It’s not an easy choice but a choice that has to be made,” he said.
With the help of hounds, officers set out to search the woods.
A few hours go by before they’re back.
“We had scent a couple of times but then dogs lost the scent so we are thinking probably that direction, nothing is over this way here.”
Officers drive to a different location. And later this afternoon, they track the adult female cougar and euthanize it.
It’s a relief for O’Connor, who hopes his livestock is no longer in danger.