Cougar encounters on the rise near Calgary, says local councillor
Residents report more animal sightings and attacks on pets
People living in the Priddis area southwest of Calgary are concerned about an apparent increase in the number of cougar sightings and recent attacks on pets.
Mary-Anne Kroeker lives on an acreage in the area. In September, she says a cougar killed a miniature horse on her property and also attacked a puppy on a neighbour's front porch in the middle of the afternoon.
"After the attack we kept the dogs in the house and in the garage and we didn't go out, we didn't want to go for walks," she said. Kroeker says they have since resumed their normal routine, but she says, "we have a baseball bat at our front door just in case."
Brendan Cox with Alberta Fish and Wildlife, says cougar incidents are becoming more common across the province.
But he says the department is unsure if there is a single problem cougar or more than one in the Priddis area.
"Cougars in this area aren't something officers haven't come across before, and in this area right now it's not considered to be a significant increase," said Cox.
Nevertheless, local councillor Suzanne Oel says six reported incidents in September indicates there is a need to raise awareness about safety around cougars.
"It's either a problem animal or there's an increase in the number," says Oel with the Municipal District of Foothills for the Priddis area
"You don't want to be afraid of living in your own backyard here and if you take certain protection measures you should be OK," said Oel.
She says the district is planning to hold a public meeting which may include a workshop on animal safety.