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Cougar menaces hikers in Waterton Lakes National Park
Published Tuesday, August 26, 2014 12:44PM MDT Last Updated Tuesday, August 26, 2014 6:59PM MDT
A 16-year-old girl was attacked by a cougar yesterday in Waterton Lakes National Park.
The cougar had been threatening other hikers throughout the day, but this was the first attack.
Mykaela Belter, who lives in St. Albert, was hiking with her family along the Lakeshore Trail.
The teenager was walking past a bush when the cougar attacked her.
The girl’s sister grabbed her and the cougar let go.
The teenager has some puncture wounds on her thigh and lower back.
She received stitches at the hospital and was released.
Parks Canada had sent out resource officers earlier in the day to look for the cougar.
Several other hiking groups reported that the big cat had approached them, followed them, and seemed very unafraid of people.
Dennis Madsen, Resource Conservation Manager with Parks Canada says the cougar's "behaviour was bizzare."
Madsen says usually cougars avoid people and that the cougar population in the area is healthy.
Parks Canada confirms that the big cat, a young female, was located hanging around the edge of the popular hiking trail and was destroyed. It had become a threat to humans and Madsen says clearly it was not frightened by people.
There is still a cougar warning for the Lakeshore Trail in case the cougar was travelling with another big cat. Madsen says it's possible, but not likely.