CALGARY -- Two dead cougars, shot while doing what comes natural to big mountain cats — only this meal happened to have a name, and was loved as a family pet.
This is the bloody price of Canmore’s population boom, of both human and wildlife.
“I can confirm we put two cats down,” said Canmore District Fish and Wildlife Officer Ron Wiebe.
It’s not a happy conversation, the Sunday afternoon phone call to Canmore’s animal management experts — people who do their best to keep human/wildlife conflict to a minimum, but sometimes have to make a grim choice.
And when it comes to picking a winner and loser in the battle for co-existence in Alberta’s mountains, the wildlife almost never comes out on top.
“It’s a harsh part of the job, but it does happen,” said Wiebe.
The two fatal gunshots have hopefully ended a spate of carnage around Canmore, blamed on hungry mountain lions who view pet dogs as an easy meal.
On Dec. 12, a medium-sized Australian Shepherd was out for a walk on the Silvertip golf course when a cougar pounced out of the woods and killed the dog.
There are conflicting reports about the attack: officially, the dog was off leash and chasing a squirrel when the cat struck, but follow up reports from the woman walking the dog suggests it was actually on an extend-a-leash, and the cougar wasn’t discouraged by the proximity of the person.
“Well today our family lost a friend and companion. While out for a walk Amber was attacked and killed by a cougar. You will be dearly missed. You were one hell of a puppy,” wrote the grieving owner of the dog, on a public Facebook post.