A conservation officer ended up bringing his work home with him after a baby cougar was found hiding under a deck in Williams Lake, B.C.
The cougar, who was suffering from hunger and frostbite, is currently staying at the officer’s home while awaiting transfer to its new permanent home. It is believed to be the baby of a female cougar who was killed by a car earlier this month. She was found to be lactating, but until now, no cubs had been found.
The cub was discovered by residents of Williams Lake hiding under some chairs beneath their deck after getting into an altercation with their dog. They called in conservation officers, who easily lured it out with a tantalizing meal of sardines and lamb. There was just one problem: someone had to take the cougar in and look after it until it could be transferred to a more long-term facility.
“Part of the reason why I decided to become a conservation officer was to be up close and personal with our wildlife,” said Ron LeBlanc, the B.C. conservation officer who ended up taking the cougar home to stay in his garage.
“My wife really thinks it’s quite special,” he told the CBC. “She’s just overwhelmed by the little guy.”
There are no wildlife centres in Canada that rehabilitate cougars to return to the wild and the cougar would likely die if set free, but fortunately the Greater Vancouver Zoo has stepped in and offered to take it. While the cougar won’t get to return to the wild, for LeBlanc, this outcome is a win. “We deal with wildlife every day and often it ends in having to be put down,” he said. “It’s a real nice change of pace to try to save one every now and then.”
While the cougar lost its mother quite young, LeBlanc has found it has a healthy appetite for meat. It is expected that the cougar will recover fully from its ordeal.
“I’m quite happy, and I hope in the future I’ll have a chance to go visit him,” LeBlanc said.