Protection of livestock from Salt Spring’s recent cougar invasion is current job one at Rollie Cook’s 20-acre Redwing Farm on Robinson Road.
On Monday morning, Cook and helper Reid Richard were busy installing stucco wire panels in openings in the farm’s sheep barn so that the flock of 40 sheep can be kept inside at night. Although a cougar has not killed any of his livestock, Cook said that district agriculturalist Derek Masselink advised that until the cougar is caught, the only thing a farmer can do is to secure their sheep.
“A cougar is up to 200 pounds, with sharp teeth,” said Cook, noting his sheep are no match for the cat.
Cook devised his wire panels because “One of the things you want for sheep is lots of air going through. We’ve left the barn open, yet covered.”
Cook estimates his wire panels will cost $1,500 to provide protection for his 35 by 15 foot barn.
“Another idea,” said Cook, “is to get a llama or donkey to protect your livestock.”