I'm not sure that this is ethically correct. This is a story from British Columbia, Canada. Just over the border from the USA is a town called Cranbrook. The map shows you where it is.
Last Friday, a couple of days ago, a resident of the town, Karen King, found two dead cats outside her home. She telephoned the conservation officers who had a look at the dead cats. The conservation officers confirmed that cougars were involved in killing the domestic cats.
"We confirmed that, yes, cougars were involved with killing domestic cats," said Jared Connatty, one of the COs
It seems that the way they worked out that two cougars were involved in the killing of these cats was because they carried out an investigation by asking questions of local residents and the residents confirmed that two cougars had been hanging around the area for a few weeks before there were notified.
So what they did was to deploy tracking hounds who picked up the scent of the cougars at the last known location which led them to two juvenile cougars of around 10 months of age where they were killed (I presume shot). The hounds did not pick up the scent of the mother.
The conservation officers were a bit surprised that the mother was not present because cougar cubs don't leave the mother until about 16 to 18 months of age.
To recap: conservation officers who have a duty to conserve nature meaning wildlife decided that the only course of action was to kill two young mountain lions because two domestic cats that were wandering outside had been killed by them on their estimation. Might it not have been a better idea to have told the people living in the area to keep their domestic cat inside for a while and then to track the cougars. Once they had discovered where they were, to then capture them and relocate them. Perhaps that is impractical, I don't know but I do know that it makes more sense to me because I don't think the actions of these conservation officers was proportionate to the “crime" committed by the mountain lions.
I know it is extremely upsetting if one has lost one's cat companion. However, that might be a risk that one takes when living in Canada knowing full well that there are quite possibly mountain lions in the area. Knowing that, a cat owner therefore puts their cat companion in risk if they let them go outside wandering.
There is no information as to whether the two domestic cats were in fact domestic cats, strays or feral cats. There appears to be no complaint by a cat owner. It would seem that the reason why the conservation officers killed the mountain lions was because whenever a mountain lion wanders into a residential area they are killed on the basis that they are a potential hazard to residents. Once again I find that a poor way of dealing with the situation. If people build residential areas within the distribution of mountain lions then they are knowingly taking the possible risk of a mountain lion walking around their urban environment. On that basis, surely they can devise some method of dealing with mounted lives more humanely so that humans and wild cat can live harmoniously together?
These were young mountain lions and therefore relatively small in size and I will thought unable to genuinely harm people. They could have been dealt with more humanely. That is the point I'm making.