THUNDER BAY – Reports of a cougar sighting near Lakehead University and Pioneer Ridge this afternoon have some city residents concerned. While cougars are rare in Ontario, they are present. The Ministry of Natural Resources reports, “In those five years, we’ve only collected about 30 pieces of evidence from the far northwest of the province to the south,” says ministry senior research scientist Rick Rosatte. “So while we know there are cougars in the province, we also know they are extremely rare”.
MNR adds, “Understandably, people fear cougars. However, no person has been attacked by a wild cougar in Ontario in more than a century”.
Tips for handling wildlife:
• Never approach the animal, especially if it is near a kill or with young, and never offer it food.
• Released or captive-reared cougars may be accustomed to humans and allow you to get close. Nevertheless, animals are unpredictable, and you should always exercise caution.
• If you see a cougar or lynx, stop, pick up small children and don’t run. Remember, its instinct is
• If you’re with others, stay together and act as a group. Children and pets should be kept very close.
• Face the animal. Talk to it firmly while slowly backing away. Always leave the animal an escape route.
• Do not crouch down or try to hide. Try to appear larger.
• Do not take your eyes off the animal or turn your back.
• If the animal does not flee, be more assertive by shouting, waving your arms, and throwing anything available.
• If the animal attacks, fight back with everything you have.