WATCH: After a cougar attack on a young boy in Lake Cowichan last week and as bears come out of hibernation conflicts with humans usually result in animals being put down.
Last Friday’s cougar attack on a young child in his own Lake Cowichan backyard is a reminder that on Vancouver Island there really is no barrier between people and wild animals.
The boy will be OK, but whether it’s cougars or bears or wolves on the west coast of the island, wildlife experts say we need to be vigilant because we are always close to their territory.
“It’s a loss of habitat. A lot of these animals are losing their habitat so what they’re doing is they’re wandering closer and closer into suburban areas, which is creating an issue,” said Tawny Molland of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington.
And usually, the animals lose. Conservation officers euthanized two young cougars in relation to that attack.
Bears are now coming out of hibernation and looking for food often causing conflicts with people.
“There’s less of their own foods right now with salmon runs being lower, you know berries aren’t out right now so you know there are going to be out and about looking for anything they can right now so that’s why we’re asking the public to put your garbage away properly,” added Molland.
Garbage is one of the biggest unnatural attractants for bears and once they get hooked on it they’ll likely be labelled a “problem bear” and face euthanization.
“We need people to start keeping their garbage locked up in a shed, in a garage,” stated Molland. “The key factor too is making sure they put their garbage and their kitchen organics out the day of pick up. Do not put it out the day before.”
The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre gets orphaned cubs every spring they are expecting the same thing this year with humans at least partly to blame in many of the cases.