Events of Cougar Attacks in Fernie in August 2018 Detailed

Note: The animal shown is not the one involved in the two attacks.

BC Conservation Officer Service is detailing two attacks, one of which involved a four-year-old.

Conservation Officer Patricia Burley has completed her investigation into the incidents from last summer in the Morrissey area.

She says the cougar first attacked the child on August 12th, 2018, resulting in lacerations, cuts, and punctures. The kid was taken to the hospital for treatment and was eventually released.

Then, 14 days later, Conservation Officers were called to downtown Fernie on reports of a cougar being in a resident's back yard.

Two personnel attended and watched the animal for some time. 

"As it was getting dark, one of the CO's turned to go back to the truck to get a larger flashlight," Burley's report reads. "When the CO turned his back, the cougar pounced at the other CO who had to dispatch it."

On August 30th, a sample was sent to a wildlife genetic lab along with the victim's clothing. The lab confirmed on September 28th that the cougar who attacked the Conservation Officer was the same one that attacked the four-year-old two weeks earlier.

"Cougar attacks on humans are very rare. Furthermore, this is the only case in BC history where DNA found at the first attack site tested positive to a reoffending animal that was dispatched several weeks later and many kilometres away from the original attack."

Burley reports that the cougar was around two years old at the time and appeared to be malnourished.

She remarked that the victim's family finally got closure now that the cougar was euthanized.

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