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Head removed from cougar killed in Victoria sparks written warning

Individual expressed remorse and returned head from animal shot by police to conservation service
A cougar had its head removed, by a now-warned individual, after the animal was dispatched in Victoria on Nov. 21. (Photo supplied by VicPD)

The individual who removed the head from the body of a cougar that was killed in Victoria on Nov.21, has received a written warning over the incident.

The individual promptly returned the head to B.C.’s Conservation Officer Service (COS), which issued the warning after concluding its investigation into the file. The big cat was killed by police after it was roaming busy areas in the capital last month.

The Wildlife Act enforcement was in response to the unlawful possession of wildlife, according to COS. The agency didn’t provide any more information when asked what led to the investigation and where the cougar’s body was when its head was taken.

The individual involved expressed remorse for their actions and cooperated throughout the investigation, the service said in an emailed statement.

“Conservation officers have discretion when issuing enforcement action, which can range from a written warning to initiating a court proceeding,” the COS said.

The cougar in question was killed after it was spotted twice in the busy Selkirk Waterfront area. An early morning sighting of the animal in the 300-block of Waterfront Crescent prompted police officers to post up outside a school in the area as students arrived. Other officers used their cruiser loudspeakers to warn residents to take shelter.

The full-grown big cat was then seen in the same area around 4 p.m. that day, prompting police officers to kill it.

“Given the close proximity to a school and preschool during care hours, the number of people and residences in the area and the amount of time it would take for conservation officers to arrive, the risk to public safety was determined to be high,” Victoria police said at the time.

The decision was not made lightly, VicPD added.

“However, the safety and security of the community is our priority.”

READ: Victoria police kill cougar on Selkirk Waterfront

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