Cougar warning issued for west end of town

·2 min read

After getting a report on Feb. 2 about a cougar preying on a deer in town, Parks Canada issued a warning for the Pyramid Bench Area adjacent to the Caribou Creek Housing Cooperative.

“Parks Canada set up a camera on Feb. 3 to monitor the area for cougar activity and the animal has now returned twice,” said Steve Young, spokesman for Jasper National Park, in a press release.

Resident Katie Poirier made the initial call to Parks Canada.

In a phone text, Poirier explained that her and husband Louis’s dogs were outside sniffing something, and as soon as she realized it was a dead deer, she called Parks dispatch.

Poirier noted she is grateful everyone is safe following the incident while emphasizing she has great respect for the animals.

“To wake up, find a cougar kill in my back yard (sic), and then get to see him at 4 a.m. that night through the window was incredible!” she wrote. “The picture shows how big and beautiful he is. Really amazing! I just hope he goes way back up in the mountains now and stays away from town.”

Poirier added she’s definitely being more aware now on the trails and with her dogs.

Young said it’s important for people to remember they share the landscape – forests, mountains, rivers and lakes – with wild animals.

“Wildlife specialists are tracking and monitoring the animal to determine if any further actions are required,” he said.

“This kind of predator activity, though not uncommon around the community, is a reminder that you are responsible for your own safety, and must remain alert when enjoying the park.”

Young provided tips to help avoid an encounter with a cougar or other dangerous wildlife:

If you see a cougar do not approach the animal. Face the cougar, and retreat slowly – do not run or play dead. Try to appear bigger by holding your arms or an object above your head. Immediately pick up small children. Be aggressive. Shout, wave a stick or throw rocks to deter an attack.

Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh