Friday, April 23, 2010

Cougars in Regina??

This article was in Regina's Leader Post today...

REGINA — Regina's bar district isn't the only place known for cougar sightings anymore.
Conservation officers are advising the public to be vigilant around Wascana Lake following a city bus driver's report of a cougar sighting in the area Wednesday night.
According to Gary Provencher, conservation officer with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, the animal was spotted around 10:12 p.m. when it crossed the path of a bus near the Conexus Arts Centre.
Aside from the reported sighting, Provencher said there's no evidence to suggest a cougar was in the area, but is still advising the public to be on the lookout.
"Chances are, it's long gone by now if there was one there. We just want to make sure people are aware of the report and to take precaution in that area," said Provencher, who doesn't believe the animal is a threat.
"Generally, they are shy animals and stay away from human interaction, but sometimes smaller children might be considered prey."
A spokesperson for the City of Regina said the bus driver declined to speak publicly about the sighting.
Provencher said the description of the animal matched that of a cougar, which is about two metres in length, stands about a metre tall at the shoulder, has a long tail and short light grey-brown or dark reddish-brown fur.
If the sighting is confirmed, Provencher believes it'll mark the first time a cougar has been seen in the city.
Although it's rare to see one in an urban setting, cougars aren't rare to Saskatchewan.
The province has an estimated population of around 300 cougars, which are often spotted in the Qu'Appelle Valley and South Saskatchewan River valley.
Cougars are known to cover an area of 200 to 300 square kilometres when searching for food, such as deer and rabbits, which are found at Wascana Centre.
Provencher suspects the sighting was likely of a younger cougar that's had few interactions with humans.
If a cougar does become a problem, a team of hounds could be used to track down the animal so conservation officers can move it to another region.
While there has been cougar attacks on humans and pets in B.C. and Alberta, Provencher said there's never been a human attack in Saskatchewan.
"Sometimes, they are a bit curious and that curiosity overrides their natural instinct to stay away from humans and they venture into an urban area," said Provencher. "It's unusual, but we are making every effort to confirm or disconfirm it was there."
Provencher advises to stay still if you do encounter a cougar. If it appears threatening, wave your arms and try to make yourself look bigger until it runs away.
Last week, a young bull moose was also attracted to the bright city lights. It made its way into the Whitmore Park area in south Regina before it was tranquilized by conservation officers and transported to the Condie Nature Refuge northwest of the city.

No comments: