Alberta teen saved from cougar attack by sister

Sisters Gabrielle and Mykaela Belter. Mykaela was attacked by a cougar in Waterton Lakes National...

Sisters Gabrielle and Mykaela Belter. Mykaela was attacked by a cougar in Waterton Lakes National Park and Gabrielle helped rescue her. Supplied Photo

Michael Platt, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:28 AM ET

CALGARY — It's said there a few sounds in the nature as bloodcurdling as the scream of a female cougar.

Unless, of course, it's the scream of a 19-year-old woman — in which case, even hungry cougars are loathe to hang around.

It was that sound which likely saved 16-year-old Mykaela Belter from a serious mauling or worse after a large cat attacked her along a hiking trail in Waterton Parks in Alberta — only to release and retreat when Belter's sister Gabrielle screamed in horror.

"I gave her a thank you," said Mykaela, who's now at her grandma's house, nursing four stitches and bruises along her thigh and lower back.

The attack has wildlife officials in the national park baffled, because the 90-pound female cougar — since captured and killed — shows no signs of starvation or distress, and the typically shy animal was stalking people in a crowded area.

Belter says she was taken by surprise as she walked with Gabrielle down the trail near Bertha Falls, her dad Gary and brother Jaxon just a few steps behind on the busy route, located only a kilometre from the Waterton townsite.

As they passed by some bushes, the cougar suddenly lunged.

"It really didn't hurt very much — it felt like when a house cat claws you, but then I looked down and thought, 'oh wow, a cougar,'" said Mykaela, who lives in St. Albert, near Edmonton.

Not far behind, her horrified father Gary Belter was thinking much stronger words than just "oh wow."

"The girls were just walking along together — the cougar stuck its head out of the bush and then it lunged forward and grabbed Mykaela and started to pull her towards the bushes," said Gary.

"Gabby reached over to grab Mykaela and screamed at the same time, and it let go."

By then dad was right there, ready to fight for his daughter's life — though he admits that between adrenaline and shock, he could barely fathom what was really happening.


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