Parks Canada has issued a cougar warning in Jasper after evidence of a large cat was spotted on multiple occasions in the town site.
Officials say evidence of an animal praying on deer in the town site was discovered this week, so a camera was set up to monitor the area for activity.
A photo of the animal was captured on Feb. 3, around 4 a.m. Park officials said the animal has returned twice, so a warning was issued for the Pyramid Bench area adjacent to the Caribou Creek Housing Cooperative.
Wildlife specialists are tracking the cat to see if any further action is required.
In the meantime, Parks Canada has provided residents with the following tips to remember if they encounter 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.
- Report a sighting immediately to Parks Canada Dispatch at 780-852-6155.
To avoid an encounter with a cougar:
- Travel in groups and keep everyone together.
- Be especially cautious at dawn and dusk, when wildlife is most active.
- Travel slowly when cycling or jogging, and do not wear earbuds.
- Make noise to alert a cougar or other potentially dangerous wildlife to your presence.
- Carry bear spray in an easily accessible location and know how to use it.
- Keep your dog on a leash at all times, and walk your dog during daylight hours if possible.
- Leave the area if you see or smell a dead animal.
- Never approach, entice or feed wildlife.