Cougar sightings in Banff National Park are rare, but a remote camera has captured mountain lions feasting on a deer carcass, giving wildlife experts a glimpse of what these cats do with their prey.
Park specialists stumbled on a deer kill near the Town of Banff on Sulphur Mountain recently and were curious to see what would happen to the carcass. They set up a motion-triggered camera to capture any action.
And, according to the Rocky Mountain Outlook, the photos that came back were quite extraordinary.
The camera captured a mother cougar feasting on the deer with her young before two larger cats took over the carcass.
“It shows cougars doing what cougars are naturally meant to be doing,” Steve Michel, a Parks Canada human-wildlife conflict specialist told the Outlook.
“It’s pretty impressive footage showing there were four cougars in that one location in just a 48-hour period. The two adults stayed on the kill and cleaned it up.”
And while it may be wonderful to get a glimpse of these wild felines, Michel warns that visitors and people living in the park should always exercise caution because cougars, unlike bears, are active all winter long.
“They should be travelling in groups, making noise, have their dog on a leash at all times. If they like listening to an iPod, maybe they should avoid doing that when they're out for a hike on a trail or out for a run somewhere nearby,” Michel told CTV Calgary.
According to the Outlook, there are three or four female cougars wandering the woods near Banff -- all of them with offspring. There are two or three more cougars travelling unaccompanied in the area.
“December, January and February is a time of year that we have a better window into the lives of what these animals are doing because of the snow on the ground,” Michel told the Outlook.
“There seems to be a lot of activity in those various corridors, from several different cougars, but it’s in predictable locations and we’re not seeing anything out of the ordinary or unusual.”