Cougar activity in the Priddis area has become an issue in the M.D. of Foothills so a Cougar Safety Workshop is in the works for Priddis and area residents.

The cats in the area are usually known to be quite shy and keep to themselves. This year a few of the resident cougars have decided that's not their style and have been a bit more aggressive.

Suzanne Oel, M.D. of Foothills councillor in Division 4, says it's not the cougar population as a whole, but a few problem cougars causing the disturbances.

"I think that there's always activity all year long but what we've seen here might be some animals that are behaving in a familiar manner rather than the behaviour we're used too," Oel says. "They're quite shy and elusive, so I think there might have been a couple of problem animals that contributed to the overall incidents."

Some of the problems Priddis residents are facing are increased sightings, aggressive behaviours and attacks on livestock.

Oel says the cougars haven't been picky.

"There has been incidents of farm animals or livestock that have been attacked and so that has brought on a fair bit of concern. We've seen a couple of goats, a couple of miniature horses and also dogs and cats."

Stories coming in from residents of the area say the cougars are also trying to take on larger prey, attacking horses and cattle as well.

Oel says the safety workshop will cover everything from what to do if you see a cougar, to hunting and poaching or defensive strategies and legalities.

"One topic is cougar behaviour, the other is cougar management in Alberta, how to reduce the chance of a cougar encounter and what to do if you do have an encounter, and of course, how effective bear spray is with cougars."

Councillors of the M.D. have invited Alberta Parks and Wildlife Animal Biologist Jay Honeyman to attend and speak. He is known for his expertise in animal conflict areas.

The cougar safety workshop will be held at the Priddis Community Hall on Thu. Dec. 1 at 7 P.M. and will have bear spray for purchase.

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