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Tuesday February 21st, 2012  
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"The challenge will be to maintain and replace our aging infrastructure, while still providing uninterrupted service to the public."
- Frank Besinger  
   
   

 

 
Blairmore Fish and Wildlife responded to a cougar kill last week, after a Bellevue resident called to report a deer carcass near his home on Dairy Road on the morning of Wednesday,
February 15th.
Fish and Wildlife Officer Andrew Gustavson responded to the call and through examining the scene, he determined the deer had been killed by a cougar as evidenced by the markings on the carcass and tracks in the snow.
With the aid of the resident, Gustavson loaded the carcass into the back of his truck in order to dispose of it.
Later that evening, at approximately 9 p.m., the cougar returned to look for its kill, leaving briefly before returning to look for it again.
After digging and pacing around the area for a short time, the cougar left and had yet to return by the time this article was published.
Gustavson said it is unlikely that the cat will return again now that it knows its kill is no longer there.
“It was good that (the resident) phoned so we know that the cat was there, but we have removed the attractant and I would be surprised if the cougar came back,” he said.
He said if the cougar did return, Fish and Wildlife would take other measures before making the decision to kill the animal.
“We prefer not to interfere as long as he’s doing his natural cougar thing,” said Gustavson.
“If he were to begin displaying more predatory behaviour like attacking pets or if he was in danger of becoming a threat to the people in the area, then we would take action.”
He said Fish and Wildlife have a “matrix” for both cougars and bears which outlines recommended courses of action when dealing with the animals.
“We use that matrix to assess the cougar’s behaviour and the appropriate action to take.”
 

While Gustavson encourages residents to continue to observe safe wildlife practices – including ensuring young children are supervised at all times while outdoors and not having them out at dawn or dusk, which are peak cougar activity times as the animals are nocturnal hunters – he said there is no cause for alarm.
“Where this happened is quite a common place for cougars to travel. Cats are prone to travelling that ridge because that is also where the deer come into town to get at the food that people set out for them,” said Gustavson.
“Most people who live in the Pass realize they are living in cougar country and are fairly accustomed to knowing the cats are around.”
He said this is the time of year when Fish and Wildlife tend to see an increase in cougar calls, as there is snow on the ground which makes the cats’ tracks more obvious.
“The snow also drives the deer into town more and that brings in the cougars,” he said.
“But when the deer displace back out into the bush in the summer, the cougars will disperse out of town as well.”
For more information on cougar safety, visit srd.alberta.ca, go to Recreation and Public Use and click on Cougars and Outdoor Recreation.
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