CALGARY- Parks Canada has issued a warning, following a cougar attack in Waterton Lakes National Park.
Officials say the animal had been frequenting the Lakeshore Trail area, from the townsite to Boundary Bay. While wardens were out investigating on Monday afternoon, a call came in that a teenage girl had been attacked just one kilometre from town.
The victim had been hiking with about nine other people, when a cougar jumped out of the bushes and attacked her.
“Me and my sister were slightly apart from the group so we were walking in front, so we were talking and laughing and being noisy,” Mykaela Belter told CHED Radio in Edmonton. “I passed a bush and it rustled, and when I turned to look a cougar jumped out and it grabbed my side and lower back and then me and my sister we both screamed.
“She grabbed my arm and pulled me back and I kind of twisted away, then my dad yelled and it kind of scared the cougar away and it let me go. It was all really quick.”
She suffered minor injuries, mostly caused by claws.
“Fish and Wildlife destroyed the cougar,” says Dennis Madsen, resource conservation manager at Waterton Lakes National Park. “The animal was showing signs of unusual behavior, and not acting in their typical way.”
Park users are warned to keep children close, travel in groups, carry bear spray and keep pets leashed.
Anyone who sees a cougar is asked to call the Waterton Emergency Line at 403-859-2636.