Anyone visiting the town of Banff should keep their heads up and an eye out because Parks Canada has issued a cougar warning for the entire area.
The warning was put into place at 3:30 pm on Sunday, January 20, and stated that there have been multiple cougar sightings in the area surrounding Banff.
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“Cougars have been frequenting the area in search of food (normal predator behaviour),” the warning reads.
Parks Canada also provided a list of tips for staying safe while in cougar-occupied territory:
- Travel in groups and keep everyone together.
- Be especially cautious when travelling during dawn and dusk, when wildlife is most active.
- Travel slowly if you are cycling or jogging.
- Make noise to alert a cougar or other potentially dangerous wildlife to your presence.
- Carry bear spray in an easily accessible location and know how to use it.
- Keep your dog on a leash at all times.
- Leave the area if you see or smell a dead animal.
- Never approach, entice or feed wildlife.
The agency also issued a list of actions to take if you do happen across a cougar:
- Do not approach the animal.
- Face the cougar, and retreat slowly – do NOT run or play dead.
- Try to appear bigger by holding your arms or an object above your head.
- Immediately pick up small children.
- Be aggressive. Shout, wave a stick or throw rocks to deter an attack.
More information on cougars and other wildlife safety can be found at Parks Canada’s website, or by visiting the Banff Visitor Centre in person.
Anyone who spots a carnivore near Banff is asked to call the Banff Dispatch immediately at 403-762-1470.