Cougar warning at Kootenay National Park
Parks Canada has issued a warning for three trails in the Radium Hot Springs area in Kootenay National Park due to recent cougar activity. The warning is for the Redstreak Campground Trail, Juniper Trail, and Sinclair Canyon Trail. People are advised to use special caution when travelling in this area.
On Monday, March 18, a cougar attacked a sheep on the cliffs above Sinclair Canyon along Highway 93 South. Both animals fell to the ground below. The cougar ran off. The sheep sustained a broken leg, and head and neck injuries as a result of the encounter. A Parks Canada Resource Conservation Officer who responded to the incident put the sheep down because of its injuries and disposed of the carcass.
On Saturday, March 24, Parks Canada responded to another incident in the same area. Members of the public observed a cougar kill an adult female sheep in the small parking lot east of Sinclair Canyon. A Resource Conservation Officer removed the sheep carcass. The next day, the officer found another fresh kill of a sheep near the parking lot. To date, the cougar has shown no aggression towards humans. Parks Canada will continue to monitor the area for cougar activity.
Cougars, while rarely seen, are constant residents in Kootenay National Park and generally avoid people. To avoid cougar encounters, travel in groups and keep everyone together including children and dogs, walk your dog on a leash, make noise to alert cougars of your presence and leave the area if you see or smell a dead animal. If you do encounter a cougar, immediately pick up children and pets, do not run or turn your back on a cougar, maintain eye contact, make yourself appear as large as possible, back away slowly, and always leave room for the animal to escape. If attacked, fight back and use bear spray.
Report all cougar sightings to Banff Dispatch at 403.762.1470.