September 19, 2014 8:00 am
Updated: September 19, 2014 8:18 am

Cougar shot and killed by Wildlife officers near South Health Campus


WARNING – The videos in this article contains graphic footage and may not be suitable for some adults and children.

ABOVE: Fish and Wildlife officers shoot and kill a cougar at the Calgary South Health Campus.

CALGARY – Fish and Wildlife officers say they had no choice but to shoot and kill a cougar spotted in the city’s south on Thursday morning.

Officials shut down a section of road near the South Health Campus around 7 a.m. after one of the big cats was spotted by the south entrance.

Around the same time, police closed down a construction site the 3000 block of Market Street S.E., after a cougar was reported in a stairwell that was under construction.

Wildlife officers were called in to help find and contain the animals.

Police say one cougar was found near the hospital.

The animal was shot and killed by Fish and Wildlife Officers, before being removed from the area.

WATCH: Tony Tighe speaks to experts on the decision to shoot the cougar.

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“When Fish and Wildlife showed up, they came in very fast, I would imagine to spook [the cougar] to get it out in the open so that they could tranquilize it,” says witness Gordon Griffiths. “But it didn’t get up, so they had to go in.”

“They did take their first shot with a tranquilizer,” adds Griffiths. “It obviously was hit, because it rolled. But then it got up and went towards them – and at that point they had to shoot it.”

Alberta Fish and Wildlife, however, says the cougar was never tranquilized. Officers say the cougar was noticeably on edge, which they attributed to adrenalin.

They say, given that rush of energy, tranquilizers would have been ineffective.

Representatives insisted they didn’t take the decision to kill the cougar lightly.

WATCH: Another angle shows the events leading up to the fatal shooting of the cougar.

Initial reports of two cougars in the area proved false after an extensive search.

Cougar sightings in Alberta have become more frequent in recent years as the number of big cats has increased along with the number
of deer and elk.

The province says conflicts between people and cougars, which can weigh between 40 and 90 kg., are rare.

But when there are problems, it usually involves juvenile cats that are struggling to look for food and establish their own territories.

GALLERY: A cougar on the loose at the South Campus Hospital

– With files from The Canadian Pres

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