November 10, 2016 5:04 pm
Updated: November 11, 2016 1:24 pm

Saskatchewan introduces new measures for cougar control

File photo of a cougar

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The Saskatchewan government is introducing new initiatives to deal with increased cougar sightings in the province.

Conservation officers will contact a local predator control specialist to trap and dispatch the cougar and will use the services of trained houndsmen to deal with cougar encounters.

Officers will also ensure specialized equipment, like functional live traps, are available in problem areas and will allow landowners to keep animals killed when protecting property, under a permit.

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They will also continue to investigate all incidents where public safety as at risk.

“Sightings have become more common in the Cypress Hills region and along the entire length of the forest fringe from Meadow Lake to Hudson Bay,” Environment Minister Scott Moe said in a statement.

“Although cougars are a protected animal and are a natural part of the Saskatchewan landscape, we take the concerns of residents seriously and will implement measures to reduce conflicts.”

READ MORE: Confirmed cougar sighting in Prince Albert, Sask. prompts advisor

Moe said the additional measures will mean a better chance of capturing problem animals.

Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) and the Saskatchewan Stock Growers have both praised the additional measures.

“As cougars have been an ongoing threat to public safety and to livestock, SARM’s members have passed resolutions over the years requesting more attention to this matter,” SARM President Ray Orb said in a statement.

“SARM is hopeful that these initiatives will reduce cougar incidents and protect our members’ livestock.”

Conservation officers and the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance corporation will still be accepting predator-related complaints. Trappers who trap a cougar will be allowed to keep and sell the cougar pelts with a permit. They must report the animal to a conservation officer so accurate harvest records are kept and biological samples can be acquired.

The Ministry of the Environment will be issuing permits to rural municipalities who have ongoing concerns with cougars so they can bring in an approved specialist.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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