RCMP are reporting several credible sightings of a single cougar recently in Gravelbourg.

The cougar has been sighted along the south side of 1st Avenue East in the town.

The public is asked to supervise pets and children when outdoors, particularly people who live on the edge of town.

Cougars tend to be more active in the evening hours and can pose a danger to smaller animals and children.

RCMP offers the following advice when dealing with cougars:

·         The cougar, Felis concolor, is also known as the mountain lion, puma or panther.

·         The cougar is one of North America's largest cats and is recognized by its tawny color and long tail.

·         Cougar kittens, or cubs, have blackish-brown spots on their body and dark rings on their tails that fade as they get older.

·         Cougars are solitary animals, making them a rare sight for humans. They usually hunt alone and at night, ambushing their prey from behind. Typically, cougars kill their prey with a bite to the lower neck.

·         After making a kill, a cougar often will take the carcass to the base of a tree and cover it with dirt, leaves or snow, saving it to eat later.

·         Cougars live all across Western North America.

·         Cougars' main prey is deer, so cougars are often found close to deer.

·         Cougars live up to 12 years in the wild but have lived up to 25 years in captivity. In the wild they face death through accidents, disease and large predators (including humans).

Here are a few guidelines to make your property safer:

  • Do not feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife attracts animals to your yard that may be prey of cougars, thus attracting cougars to your yard.
  • Do not feed pets outside. Cougars will eat pet food, and the food could attract cougars to your yard. Keep pets indoors at night as well, as pets make easy prey for cougars.
  • Make your yard deer-proof. If your landscaping is attractive to deer, cougars will follow the deer and hang close to your property.
  • Dense vegetation makes great hiding places for cougars. Remove vegetation that could be a hiding place, making your yard less friendly for cougars.
  • Outdoor lighting and motion-sensitive lighting is a deterrent for the secretive cougar. Lights also make approaching cougars visible.
  • Secure livestock in a barn or shed at night. If that is impossible, a small, well-lit pen close to a structure is the next-best option.
  • Keep a close eye on your children when they are playing outside. Bring children in before dusk when cougars begin to hunt.

Outdoor Recreation:

  • Hike with other people and make noise. Cougars usually will not bother groups of people.
  • Keep a clean camp and store food and garbage in your vehicle or hang it between two trees where cougars (and bears) cannot reach it.
  • When hiking with small children, keep the children in the group or in sight ahead of the group. Remember, cougars ambush from behind, so keeping a child in front of the main group will lessen the possibility of attack.
  • Keep away from dead animals, especially deer . This could be a kill that a cougar is guarding or will be returning to. A cougar will defend its food.
  • If hiking with pets, keep them close to the group. Roaming pets will be open to cougar attacks or could irritate a cougar that is trying to avoid the group.

If anyone sees a cougar in the Gravelbourg area, they are asked to call RCMP at 306-648-4350.