Moose Jaw police track, kill cougar after several sightings inside city
Cougar was recorded walking across man's yard Monday morning, several times afterward
Police in Moose Jaw have killed a cougar that was spotted in the city late Monday night.
Officers received a call about the cougar being seen in the northwest part of the city just before midnight.
Police brought out a drone and were able to track the cougar from the air.
After talking to conservation officers at the scene, police killed the cougar.
Police said they were told it would be unsafe to tranquilize the cougar while it was in the city, and the only safe action was to kill it.
The cougar was originally seen early Monday morning, when a doorbell camera recorded it walking across a man's lawn.
It was then spotted in the city's downtown at about 8 a.m. CST. Police and conservation officers tried to corner the cougar downtown, but it escaped.
It was then spotted in the city's northwest area at about 11 a.m. CST.
Conservation officer Bruce Reid, the inspection manager for the southwest section of the province, said it's entirely possible the cougar would have gone unnoticed had it not been for the initial sighting.
"Without that doorbell camera, we may have never known about it," he said.
"The animal [was] probably very confused and looking for a place to hole up for the day."
The cougar sighting prompted King George Elementary School to tell parents to pick their children up from school, rather than let them walk home.
Reid said it is very uncommon for a cougar to be spotted in an urban area. The last confirmed sighting in the province was in Saskatoon about 10 years ago.
However, he said sightings in rural areas are on the increase, prompting him to believe that numbers are up across the province.
"It's kind of a good sign for the ecosystem," he said.
"It must be in a good place if the if the apex predators are doing well."
He said cougars are generally seen in the province's southwest, as well as the northern forest fringe from Meadow Lake to Hudson Bay.
Reid said cougars are very solitary animals and generally stay far away from any human activity.
If a cougar is spotted in an area, he said people should be alert and keep their pets inside.
With files from Janani Whitfield