A Red Deer couple believes they may have spotted a cougar in the city.
Dale and Della Berg were driving near 32nd Street and 47th Avenue on Friday when a deer jumped over the guard rail and rammed their car.
“It jumped back that way, so we went back to see if the deer was all right. We drove back up around and by (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 47th Avenue) and that’s when we spotted what looked like a cougar,” said Dale.
“There are three cement pillars across from that church … and that’s where we saw it.
“It looked like a cougar to me. Della thought it may have been a wolf.”
Dale said he hasn’t reported the incident to Alberta Environment and Parks, but feels people should know about a potential safety risk.
“If there is a cougar in there, it’s not the safest situation,” said Dale.
“I was just thinking … if someone is in there walking their pets or something, a cougar could take it before you could blink your eye. It may be a life-or-death situation,” said Dale.
Scott Stevens, Alberta Environment and Parks senior wildlife biologist, said there hasn’t been any reported cougars in Red Deer this year.
“The chances are very low that there are cougars in town,” said Stevens.
“I think there was one reported a few years back. I don’t have the specifics on that. It’s very rare, but it is possible.
“If they are in town, they’d be more likely to be preying on pets than a significant danger to humans.”
Stevens said cougars could potentially show up “wherever there is a good deer population.”
There are a few tips to remember if you come face to face with a cougar, Stevens said.
“Slowly back away, try to remove yourself. But if it’s aggressive, the big thing to remember is do not run, because that triggers their reflex and it’s a bad situation,” Stevens said, adding people should make themselves big and should not play dead.
“Basically, the same things you’d do with a black bear,” he said.