Dawnivan Sept and Jake Epema are grateful to local police officers who attempted to help remove a hungry unwanted guest.
The Salmon Arm residents came home on Jan. 17 to find the coop they use to keep their small flock of ducks warm and safe from predators had failed to keep out one wily wild cat.
Sept said signs of a disturbance were obvious as one of their ducks was in the neighbours’ yard. When she went to put the wandering duck back in the coop and lock up for the night, Sept came face to face with what she first thought was a large house cat hissing quietly at her.
A quick inspection of the coop turned up two dead ducks and a dead rat in the middle of the coop. It immediately became clear the feline shape hissing at her from the corner was in fact a young bobcat. The cat had got over the eight-foot high fencing outside the coop and broke a gate to get in.
Sept and Epema quickly shut the coop and rounded up the remaining ducks as well as their dogs and pot-bellied pig, and got them safely inside before calling the police who then notified the Conservation Officer Service for them. The COs advised them to secure their animals and open all the doors to the coop to give the bobcat a way out.
“We were terrified to be the one letting this very angry wild cat out,” Sept wrote in a message to the Observer.
Three RCMP officers from the Salmon Arm detachment showed up to help get the cat out of the coop. Unsuccessful attempts were made to spook the cat with loud noises and by prodding it through ventilation holes.
“Rave to the 3 lovely local RCMP officers that came up to our place this evening to help us get a bobcat out of our chicken coop,” said Sept in a Facebook post. “They were here within an hour of me phoning them. They were kind, helpful, caring, and supportive during our stressful and terrible evening.”
Eventually, the cat dashed out of the coop, ran into Epema’s legs then quickly retreated back inside.
Sept said five minutes after the RCMP officers left, the spooked bobcat found a way out and dashed up a tree, where it stayed for two hours, coming down after 1:30 a.m.
The bobcat had killed six of the 10 ducks and another died of its injuries the next day. It appeared to have stashed some of the dead waterfowl for an easy meal later; it returned the next day but finding its kills cleaned up, it left quickly.
After their brush with the bobcat, Sept and Epema plan to install a sturdier gate for the coop and cover the top of the fenced animal run.
“It was very neat to see such an uncommon animal so close, ” Sept said.