The American cougar (or mountain lion, puma, or mountain cat) is a fairly large cat, weight of a male up to 100kg, a female up to 60kg. This animal’s range is rather large, from North America, Canada West down to Mexico and the most southern ranges of South America. Making it one of the smartest predatory big cats, who are not on the brink of extinction. They can live in cold, snow, and in hot climates. Mostly prefer rocky areas, where they can hide and stalk while the prey is roaming on a lower plain.

Attacks encountered and witnessed when in Alberta, Kananaskis Country West of Calgary. We went riding in the Foothills. And a cougar does what it does best, ambush and jump from the top of a rock or cliff. Jumped on the horse, that of course bolted away in terror, threw the lady rider (lucky she was) and seriously injured that horse. I saw it, its skin was shredded. I did a lot of solo riding (twenty seven years) in the Foothills of Alberta. Always look up in addition to look ahead and down for signs of cougar or grizzly bear. On my 80-acre ranch in the Alberta Rockies I had cougars on my land. Maybe I had been lucky. Went around them, when finding a deer kill site. Retreat and get out of there.

Why many cougars on Vancouver Island ? Because it is an island, because it is rocky (volcanic rock), high rocks. I love these cats. But also realize they can be close anywhere where I cycle on the trails outside the city. Usually the cougar does not attack a person, but can and may when opportunity knocks or because of inexperience (especially young cougars), or when confronted. Vancouver Island cougars are a bit different. Less area, more conflict with people, and they cannot leave this island ? Not quite true – a cougar can swim [ http://o.canada.com/2013/07/24/swimming-cougar-vancouver-island/ ].

More than two thirds of North American fatalities occurred on Vancouver Island. Incidences here include: young cougars wandering into the Victoria Empress Hotel (tourists terrified – animals terrified). One lady told me she went swimming in the surrounding ocean, on her return to the beach, that big yellow cat was there looking at her. There is lots of deer (the cougars’ staple prey), but sometimes they take pets, and they can be dangerous to children.

When walking alone in the wilderness, chances of running into a cougar are real, pointless to run. This will trigger their stalk-and-hunt instinct. Somebody told me, take a long stick with you, makes you look taller. Doubtless I could stand up to an attack. Usually, cougars are shy and keep away from humans, but also are not easily scared away by humans. The latest most recent attack off Northern Vancouver Island, bizarre and unique, because the animal got killed. [ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/woman-critically-injured-after-cougar-attack-in-clayoquot-sound/article14188088/ ]

Yet, statistically speaking cougar attacks are rare compared with human against human attacks. Those lovely big tawny cats are just fighting back for lost territory and loss of prey species.cougars[Any commercial ads/video’s following this post originate solely from the Word Press organization. I distance myself from any such advertised products. The Editor.”] 

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