A photo provided bv the Hesperia Code Enforcement shows a mountian lion peering from his hiding place inside a Hesperia, Calif., Family's garage Tuesday May 24, 2011. The mountain lion was eventually sedated by California State Fish and Game Biologists and released back into the wild. (AP PHOTO/ BILL DeBORD/ HESPERIA CODE ENFORCEMENT)
The Gravelbourg RCMP have issued a cougar alert to residents of the town after one of the wild cats was spotted by civilians and an officer working with the detachment.
“It’s certainly not common for cougars to be sighted here,” said Cpl. Al Sutherland of the Gravelbourg RCMP. “Some people would say it’s the first time in anyone’s recent memory that they have seen one.”
Sutherland had received reports that a cougar was spotted in the area from two different people before spotting the animal himself, he said, adding that some reports suggested there may be more than one of the animals prowling around town.
“I have heard rumours that there is a pair of them, but that’s not what I saw,” said Sutherland. “Cougars tend to be solitary — they tend not to pair up or work in groups and tend not to hang around together.”
According to Sutherland, head-on confrontations with the animals are rare, in no small part because of the “open ground” in Saskatchewan when compared to other provinces.
“There haven’t been any sightings at all here since the summer,” said Gisele Perrault, a representative for Wakamow Valley. “I guess the cougars moved on to Gravelbourg.”
Still, the corporal had some advice to offer townsfolk to help them avoid a confrontation with a cougar.
“If you’re in the middle of town, there’s much more to keep the cougar away,” said Sutherland.
“Be aware of your surroundings and know when they are out and about,” he advised. “They’re not usually out during the day. They hunt by night and are often seem at dawn or dusk.”
For more on this story, pick up tomorrow's Times-Herald.