An Alberta official says the body of a cougar shot on a Morinville-area property last month will likely be mounted and put on public display for educational purposes.
The cougar, about two years old, was killed by a Morinville-area man on July 31. The 36-kilogram animal was shot twice.
Darcy Whiteside, a spokesman for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development in Edmonton, said it is legal for provincial residents to shoot cougars and coyotes if they pose a threat but residents cannot trap or use dogs to kill the animals.
Whiteside said the department recommends that residents call fish and wildlife officials first, if possible, because provincial staff will deal with the animals, which could be relocated.
Encountering a cougar is rare, he said.
"Cougars are very solitary animals. Usually, they stay away from humans," he said. "To see one is odd. They are very adept at hiding."
On the morning of July 31, Louise Wulff was alerted to the cougar sitting in a tree on the acreage that she owns with her husband Ernie Wulff, about 15 kilometres northwest of Morinville, a town north of Edmonton.
Their dog Bear spotted the cougar first and tried to get Wulff's attention while she was on her way to get the mail.
The cougar peered down at her when she looked up. "I backed up very, very slowly," she said. "All I knew is that it was a cougar."
She went into the house.
"She didn't have the mail. I knew something was wrong. Her eyes were bigger than her glasses," Ernie Wulff said.
He got his gun and shot the animal, and now his neighbours are congratulating him as the story makes the rounds.
Whiteside said there have only been two serious incidents involving cougars and humans in the past 30 years in Alberta. The last incident occurred in 2004 west of Hinton when a five-year-old boy was mauled.
The body of the cougar could be used in schools and public spaces to teach the public about wildlife, he said. It is currently being stored in a freezer until a decision is made about how it will be used but it will not go to waste, he added.