Yukon News

Cougar spotting confirmed

Ashley Joannou Monday June 1, 2015

Kevin Russell/123RF


A stock image of a cougar. Two cougars were spotted May 22 near Whitehorse. Conservation officers are warning residents to keep children and pets close if they suspect cougars are in the area.

Conservation officers have confirmed that a pair of cougars were spotted near Whitehorse 10 days ago.

Reports of cougars are hard to verify because of how quickly they move through an area, said Environment Yukon spokesperson Eric Clement. But in this case, officers were able to identify paw prints from a juvenile pair of the big cats south of the city on May 22.

It is the first confirmed sighting of the summer. Clement isn’t aware of any more recent sightings.

“We’re really not trying to worry anybody, because nobody’s in danger – it’s just to let people know that there was a cougar sighting,” he said.

It’s quite likely they’ve moved on, according to the department. Cougars are attracted to an area by the presence of deer or elk, but may hunt and kill other wildlife, pets or livestock if the opportunity presents itself.

Reports of cougars in the Yukon date back to 1944, but the first confirmed case wasn’t until November 2000.

That’s when a dead cougar was discovered just outside of Watson Lake. It appeared to have been using an abandoned car as shelter.

Protecting yourself against a cougar is not that different from a bear, Clement said.

People should stay calm and not approach the animal.

“You avoid sudden movements because those can provoke an attack. You want to watch the cougar at all times as you back away slowly. And, if a cougar attacks, you want to fight back with a weapon such as pepper spray, rocks or sticks or whatever you can muster.”

You can report a cougar sighting to the TIPP line at 1-800-661-0525 or visit http://www.env.gov.yk.ca/tipp.

Environment Yukon also has a cougar safety website at http://www.env.gov.yk.ca/environment-you/cougar-safety.php.

Contact Ashley Joannou at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Pascal wrote:
4:55pm Thursday June 11, 2015

Pretty sure i saw a cougar at the dirty northern yesterday!

fyi wrote:
6:37pm Sunday June 7, 2015

These cougars were seen about 10 km down the Carcross Road, then about 1 km to the ‘right’, not the Kookatsoon side, the other side.

to each their own wrote:
9:30am Sunday June 7, 2015

In the mid nineties, there was a cougar roaming around the faro area.  It was spotted on the mine road repeatedly.  Eventually it was taken down in someone’s back yard in the Yates crescent area.

The thing is, these cats take in a lot of territory.  Interesting to see them this close to town.  Not good, but interesting.  And definitely a good idea to keep people apprised of the sighting locations.

Groucho d'North wrote:
8:50am Saturday June 6, 2015

Correct me if I’m wrong but an advisory for the public to be alert for cougars, should include a description of the location they animals were recently seen in. It is only in a reader comment below where this information is contained. South of Whitehorse was the descriptor used by all media I have seen and that covers a pretty large area, some details would have been appreciated.

Anon wrote:
6:42pm Friday June 5, 2015

What next? Penguins in the yukon? I certainly hope so

I can't believe the comments wrote:
11:24am Friday June 5, 2015

Cougar main food are deer.  But they well go after Caribou and eat them.
I watched it in Wilmore Park many years ago in Alberta. Two cats taking down a cow and eating it.

rachel wrote:
8:01am Friday June 5, 2015

I saw one about 2 weeks ago right near the clay cliffs on Cook St as well. I didn’t have my phone with me to take pictures though. They definitely are around town!

hillbilly wrote:
12:41pm Wednesday June 3, 2015

There were a couple of spottings of cougar on the Porcupine River upstream of Old Crow in 2011.  No deer or elk up there so the cats must be learning to diversify.  CO’s were looking for tracks to support the reported sightings but I’m not sure they were successful. The people who made the sightings were reliable and knowledgable people. That is a long way out of their confirmed range.

Yukoner wrote:
8:08am Wednesday June 3, 2015

what is the big deal we live in the bush and if you don’t understand what I’m saying its time to go back down south to the city where you came from

WestofBelfast wrote:
6:28pm Tuesday June 2, 2015

Cougarlover:  Do people really think they are still being funny and witty making cougar jokes?  Really…chicken crossed the road jokes are almost as old but more funny.  Give it a rest.

Jim Lahey wrote:
5:29pm Tuesday June 2, 2015

@ Mary laker

Yeah,  Probally the same CO that killed that Mama bear last year because they thought it was a male.

Cougarlover63 wrote:
4:44pm Tuesday June 2, 2015

Hmm, what were they wearing? Do they have stable Gov’t employment?

mary laker wrote:
2:22pm Tuesday June 2, 2015

I guess the CO’s failed to mention that they were given photographs of the cougars by the person who saw them before they went out and ‘confirmed’ that they were spotted by looking at tracks.  What a joke!  They should give credit to the young man who actually noticed them in the middle of the night, took out his phone and snapped some pics, called the CO’s and emailed the photographs.  But nope, it was all the CO’s detective work by the looks of this article.

WestofBelfast wrote:
8:34am Tuesday June 2, 2015

Likely siblings that mum cut the apron strings with to have cubs this year.  Apparently they were last seen around Kookatsoon.

Cat man wrote:
7:02pm Monday June 1, 2015

I heard a story this weekend regarding a cougar that hopped a fence,  grabbed a German Shepard and hopped back over the fence with dog in tow. And it was a fairly tall fence. I don’t remember the year but I think it was around 2000.

north_of_60 wrote:
4:59pm Monday June 1, 2015

Cowley Lake is known historically as Cougar Lake before the railway was built in 1900.  They’ve been here before when it was warmer in the late 1800s.

statestheobvious wrote:
4:08pm Monday June 1, 2015

thanks to the COs for informing the community of a possible danger… 10 days later.

ralpH wrote:
3:47pm Monday June 1, 2015

OOOH NOOO!!! Lock up all the young men!!!!

Following the deer growth wrote:
2:53pm Monday June 1, 2015

Following the deer growth in come the cougars. We saw a cat like a cougar north of Watson Lake on the Cantung road four years ago.

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