Cougar spot­ted in Mid­land park

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Patrick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail

Users of Mid­land Pro­vin­cial Park are asked to be aware of wildlife.

This comes af­ter a cougar was sighted last week in the park near the Royal Tyrrell Mu­seum.

Gerry Ben­nett, act­ing area man­ager for Al­berta En­vi­ron­ment and Parks, says mu­seum em­ploy­ees caught sight of the cougar on March 24 while they were jog­ging. Ben­nett says it is not un­com­mon for wildlife to be in the area.

“Cougars are an­i­mals that live in Al­berta and you will run across them where the habi­tat is suit­able,” said Ben­nett.

“It just so hap­pens the Red Deer River Val­ley is a suit­able habi­tat and you can ex­pect to see them. Now that we have, we just want peo­ple to be aware.”

He ex­plains that when the cougar caught sight of the jog­gers, it bolted, which is how he hopes they would typ­i­cally be­have.

“Given there is an am­ple nat­u­ral food source in the area (deer, rab­bit) and be­cause the cougar ex­hib­ited nor­mal be­hav­iour by bolt­ing, there is no need for con­cern,” he said. “For the most part, as soon as they hear you com­ing, they are go­ing to be gone.”

How­ever, due to the close prox­im­ity to the mu­seum and walk­ing trails he says the pub­lic needs to be aware. Warn­ing signs were posted at the en­trance to the Mu­seum and an ad­vi­sory was posted on the Al­ber­taParks.ca web­site.

For more in­for­ma­tion check out Pre­vent­ing Con­flict with Wildlife.

mailphoto by Patrick Ko­lafa

Signs are posted at the path­way en­trances to Mid­land Pro­vin­cial Park warn­ing users of a cougar sight­ing in the area.

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