Eric Blacha photo                                A Port Hardy resident lost his cat in what may be a tragic incident involving a cougar.

Eric Blacha photo A Port Hardy resident lost his cat in what may be a tragic incident involving a cougar.

UPDATED: Cougar put down after Vancouver Island resident finds his decapitated cat

Conservation officers euthanize predator in Port Hardy Tuesday afternoon

Growing concern about a cougar in a northern Vancouver Island town took a grisly turn today when a man found the beheaded remains of his cat in the woods near his house.

Port Hardy’s Eric Blacha believes a cougar may have been responsible for his gruesome discovery in the wake of a series of sightings, a warning issued to area schoolchildren, and an incident where a neighbourhood chicken was also snatched by wildlife.

Blacha said he leashed his male cat, Cosmo, outside the front of his house near the Beaver Harbour trailer park at around 8 p.m., Oct. 22.

“I went to go check on him. I couldn’t find him or hear him and just kept checking on him,” he said. Blacha grew concerned for his white-furred pet. In an online post, he noted Cosmo was “gone all night which isn’t like him at all.”

This morning, after Blacha’s mother, Kathleen Gillis, spotted what she thinks may have been a cougar when starting her vehicle, Blacha ventured out into the nearby woods to search for Cosmo.

He encountered a small hole, which could have been dug by the cougar. He noticed “a clump of hair and kind of moved the dirt and sticks” and discovered the cat’s remains.

“He was headless,” Blacha said.

Conservation officers came early this morning, and, according to Blacha, they planned to send out a trained hound to track the predator. Jonathan Paquin, local conservation officer for the North Island, has since confirmed a cougar, which was located near Blacha’s residence, was in fact euthanized.

Fort Rupert Elementary School recently released a warning, adding that students are not allowed to linger outside the school building, which is less than a kilometre away from where the incident occurred.

WildSafeBC stated that “if you encounter a cougar, keep calm. Make yourself look as large as possible and back away slowly, keeping the cougar in view, and allowing a clear exit for the cougar. Pick up children and small pets immediately. Never run or turn your back- sudden movements may provoke an attack.”

The organization also added that in the case of an aggressive cougar, “respond aggressively in all cases as cougars see you as a meal: keep eye contact, yell and make loud noises, and show your teeth.”

WildSafeBC pointed out that, like the case of Cosmo, the cougar will often “pull debris over the carcass to keep off scavengers. The cougar will stay near a kill site, returning to it regularly until the prey is completely consumed.”

Residents are encouraged to report any dangerous wildlife sightings to conservation.

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

Just Posted

Power outages affected thousands of BC Hydro customers in the north on Jan. 14 (File photo) (File photo)
Power outages affect thousands of BC Hydro customers in northern B.C.

Transmission failure led to outages in Prince Rupert and Port Edward

A Prince Rupert port expansion project received a $25 million investment from the provincial government, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced on Jan. 14. Seen here is Ridley Terminals Inc., a coal export terminal in Prince Rupert (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)
$25 million government investment in Prince Rupert port expansion project

Prince Rupert port expansion project expected to create more than 2,200 jobs

For the second time in less than a year, Air Canada announced on Jan. 13 it has suspended flights on the Prince Rupert-Vancouver route as of Jan 17. (Photo by: Jerold Leblanc)
Cessation of flights to YPR will affect the municipal economy and global trade, P.R. Mayor said

Chamber of Commerce said it will aggressively pursue the resumption of flights to Prince Rupert

Air Canada has suspended flights to Prince Rupert Regional Airport due to COVID-19 mitigation, the airline announced on Jan. 13. (Photo:THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
YPR is not immune to plummeted air travel demands – 25 jobs lost

Prince Rupert Regional Airport flight cancellation will levee significant hardship - Rick Leach

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Most Read