WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. – A young cougar left hungry and orphaned when its mother was hit by a vehicle is recovering from frostbite in Williams Lake, B.C.Ron LeBlanc of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service said residents reported seeing a small cat in the area.Officers searched outside a home Monday where the animal was last spotted.“Sure enough, the little guy was on the deck under some lawn furniture,” LeBlanc said.They used a live trap with sardines and lamb as enticements, and within hours it was caught, he said, adding the homeowner thought his dog may have tangled with the cat.Officers tranquilized it before assessing its condition.“Really the only thing that we found is both his ear tips had frostbite and he was skinny and dehydrated. But other than that, he had no punctures or injuries or broken bones or any of that kind of stuff.”The kitten is two or three months old and about twice the size of an adult house cat.Its claws are razor sharp and it has a healthy appetite for meat, LeBlanc added with a chuckle.Before they found the kitten, conservation officers hoped it would reconnect with its mother.“A couple of days prior to this we had a female adult killed on the highway. She was lactating when we found her so we knew she had kittens,” he said, adding officers searched the area but couldn’t find any sign of her young.There are no facilities in Canada that rehabilitate cougar kittens to return to the wild, but LeBlanc said the Greater Vancouver Zoo was willing to take in the animal. It will be transferred there next week.“We struggled with this,” he said, adding they didn’t want the cougar to be in a zoo for the rest of its life but the other alternative was putting it down.LeBlanc’s wife is enamoured with the cougar and has suggested a few names for it, he said, adding they’ve decided to leave the naming up to the zoo.He said he has been trying to minimize contact with the cougar.“He’s gone through a lot already in his limited little life there, so I just don’t want to disrupt him anymore.”LeBlanc said he hopes the cat is able to stay at the zoo so he can visit it to see if the size of its paws is any indication of its size as an adult.“One of the very cool parts of our job is dealing with wild animals up close and personal. We’ve had everything from grizzly bears to owls to cougars in transition to either releasing or relocating or rehabilitating.”
1. The rich zooplankton, fish and squid resources on the Patagonian Shelf sustain substantial populations of largely resident seabirds and marine mammals, These habitats are also visited seasonally by similar species from elsewhere but few data exist on their status and origin. Recent studies, using satellite-tracking to determine foraging ranges and feeding areas of seabirds and am marine mammals breeding at South Georgia, have shown that several species make substantial use of the waters of the Patagonian Shelf. 2. Wandering albatrosses use shelf-edge areas year-round with direct observations of both sexes of almost all age classes, including, breeding, pre-breeding and non-breeding individuals. White-chinned petrels and female Northern and Southern giant petrels mainly visit during incubation and post-breeding, particularly to the Falklands Current (White-chinned petrels) and to upwelling areas around the southern shelf-break from the Burdwood Bank in the cast to Staten Island and Diego Ramirez in the west (giant petrels). Northern giant petrel males during incubation and Antarctic fur seals in winter reach inner shelf habitats in the northern sector. In contrast, South Georgia populations of black-browed and grey-headed albatrosses do not appear to use the Patagonian Shelf at any stage of their breeding cycle. 3. Although the use of the Patagonian Shelf by visiting species is now best documented for South Georgia species, recent observational data confirm that seabirds from Diego Ramirez, Tristan da Cunha and Gough visit the southern and northern sectors, during both breeding and non-breeding seasons respectively. Several Antarctic species (notably Antarctic fulmar and cape petrel) winter in the region as do at least two albatross species from New Zealand; other species (especially Wilson’s storm petrels) use it as a staging ground on migration, as do several species of baleen whales and possibly other cetacean species. 4. Three of the seabird species which breed on the Patagonian Shelf are Globally Threatened; seven of the visiting species (and four baleen whale species) also have this status. The Patagonian Shelf is, therefore, not only of global importance for the diversity and abundance of its resident top predators but is just as critical for the survival of many visiting species, some of which are even more endangered. 5. Combining data from satellite-tracking with conventional mapping from direct observations offers the prospect of defining the foraging ranges (and the main feeding areas within these) of a range of key top predator species. Such data should be used, in conjunction with similar information of the distributions of fish, squid and zooplankton resources and of fishing effort, to identify critical marine habitats whose precautionary, multiple-use sustainable management will be vital to protect the interests of both commercial fishers and top predators.