‘We need a trap’: Nanoose farmers sleepless as cougar kills sheep

'We need a trap': Nanoose farmers sleepless as cougar kills sheep

Brant Protasiewich was keeping his flock of sheep closer than ever on his Nanoose Bay farm Saturday, and his gun at the ready.

“This is where I’ve been sleeping. They all sleep behind me,” Protasiewich told CHEK News on Saturday, pointing to a hillside in his sheep pasture.

The farmer was trying to protect his sheep from the cougar that has been attacking his animals for days and that he fears is still waiting in the Nanoose Creek ravine that runs alongside his farm.

“It can hide in there and I can’t do anything about it,” he said.

The attacks started on Monday and impacted two sheep farms just hours apart.

“Three kills in one day, that’s not natural,” said Protasiewich.

According to the sheep farmer, BC Conservation Officers attended the scene but refused to set up a trap to catch the cougar, telling the farmers that the animal was displaying natural behaviour and would move on. But Protasiewich told CHEK News Saturday that it hasn’t, since finding sheep farms on either side of the ravine.

“I wish the conservation officer had set up a trap then,” he said.

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Saturday marked six days since the cougar started attacking Protasiewich and his neighbour, Peter Jjenga’s, sheep herds, and had by then killed three animals and injured three more.

“We need a trap being laid there for this cougar to be trapped. Relocated…and treated the way it’s supposed to be treated,” said Nanoose Bay farmer Peter Njenga. “It is very frustrating.”

The creek is a protected wetland, and is where the cougar has been taking its kill. It is illegal to shoot there, so farmers on both sides of the creek are now armed and waiting for the cougar to come onto their properties.

Protasiewich says he’s worried not only for his flock, but for everyone in the community.

“The end of my property is a block and half away from the school. I have 11 neighbours, they have kids, there’s a campground,” said Protasiewich.

The Ministry of Environment, which oversees the BC Conservation Officer Service, did not respond to CHEK News’ requests for an interview, as Nanoose sheep farmers prepared to spend another sleepless night, protecting their flocks.

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