Many that live in Cochrane appreciate the town’s vicinity to the mountains, and nature. However, that also means Cochrane sees a lot of wildlife, some that could be dangerous.
In the past two weeks there have been warnings from the town about foxes, as well as cougars. Coyotes are also common in the area.
While there will always be some chance encounters with these animals, Brendan Cox, Public Affairs Officer with Alberta Fish and Wildlife says, it’s always best to take preventative steps to avoid them.
“With foxes the best thing to do is remove any food sources on your property, as well as shelter.” He says. “Close off spaces underneath your deck or front porch, clean up brush, wood, or construction debris”
Cox recommends picking up any loose garbage on your property, or any ripe fruit, covering your compost tightly, feeding pets indoors, and putting your garbage out the morning of pickup, rather than the night before, this way animals have less time to get into it.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife also advise to never feed wildlife, which will avoid attracting prey animals, which could attract animals such as cougars.
“Keep birdfeeders indoors between April and October, and do not put out salt licks for deer” he says. “Put small pets on a leash and supervise them when they are outdoors, cougars are also most active at dawn and dusk.”
If you do encounter a cougar, Cox has some advice to keep yourself safe.
“If it’s at a distance do not run, and don’t turn your back. If you’re with other people gather them in close, and cautiously back away and give the cougar space. Once you are at a safe location report the sighting to the 24 hour report a poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.”
If you see a cougar on your property, make sure to get everyone inside, including pets. Make sure that the cougar has lots of space to leave the yard, as it’s important that it has an escape route. It is encouraged that you notify your neighbours of the incident.
Coyotes are commonly seen in the area, Cox says if you come across one, make the experience for it as unpleasant as possible.
“Make yourself appear larger by raising your arms, or spreading out your jacket, if you have a walking stick you can wave that. Speak in a loud authoritative tone, if the coyote is approaching you, we encourage you to gesture at it with a stick or throw rocks. This will help the coyote to learn that it should stay away from humans.”
For more information on wildlife safety click here.