Cougar treed by wild dogs west of Calgary caught on camera
Calgary couple encounter unusual scene near Ghost Lake
Viv Klingbeil is used to observing wildlife through motion-activated cameras placed strategically around her cabin west of Calgary, but one of the wildest scenes she has witnessed came up during an afternoon walk with her husband, when they encountered a cougar that had been treed by a pack of wild dogs.
While walking on the trails that criss-cross their property near Ghost Lake late Friday, Klingbeil and her husband, Mark, first noticed the noise from the feral animals, which they quickly determined not to be wolves or coyotes but the wild dogs they had seen numerous times before via the remote cameras set up around the property.
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"One was barking like crazy and there was a lot of yelping going on," Klingbeil recalled.
"We know they're not friendly," she added. "We've caught them on camera. They were chasing a moose last week, so we know they're harassing the wildlife."
The couple headed back to their nearby cabin to get an all-terrain vehicle and then returned to the scene.
'He seemed like he was relieved'
Some loud words sent the dogs retreating into the woods, and then her husband wondered what the animals had been doing in the first place — speculating that they may have treed a cougar.
"That had not even crossed my mind," Klingbeil said. "And so, he went under the tree … and looked up, and of course he saw the huge tail hanging down."
With a DSLR camera and zoom lens, Klingbeil captured some images of the mountain lion about 12 metres up the tree while her husband kept a close watch with bear spray close at hand, should it make a sudden move.
But Klingbeil said the treed animal remained calm while she snapped the photos.
"He seemed like he was relieved," she said.
Dogs not considered wildlife
"He had been harassed so much by these dogs that, once the dogs were gone, he was just up there checking us out. He didn't take his eyes off of us, but he didn't seem agitated. There was no growling or hissing or anything."
Alberta Fish and Wildlife spokesman Brendan Cox said that wild dogs, which are either former pets or descended from pets that escaped their domestic homes, don't fall under the purview of the provincial department.
"They're not considered wildlife; they're domestic animals," he said.
Klingbeil and her husband have spotted at least six different wild dogs with their motion-activated cameras, including a pair of pups that appear to have grown up in the wild.
The creatures are among a number that the Klingbeils have caught on camera in the area.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/trailcammonday?src=hash">#trailcammonday</a> Such a treat for this handsome fellow to show up! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/wildlife?src=hash">#wildlife</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/alberta?src=hash">#alberta</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/wolf?src=hash">#wolf</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cabinlife?src=hash">#cabinlife</a> <a href="http://t.co/6aQCK3bxcL">pic.twitter.com/6aQCK3bxcL</a>—@viv_iam
Daytime visitor wandering through the woods ... looking really healthy after his winter snooze! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cabinwildies?src=hash">#cabinwildies</a> <a href="http://t.co/t2Ah82sBdr">pic.twitter.com/t2Ah82sBdr</a>—@viv_iam
Mesmerized by the eyes! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/explorealberta?src=hash">#explorealberta</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/naturephotos?src=hash">#naturephotos</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/owls?src=hash">#owls</a> <a href="http://t.co/dGfJyKkjxU">pic.twitter.com/dGfJyKkjxU</a>—@viv_iam