Resource officers in Alberta's Waterton Lakes National Park have destroyed a cougar after it approached a hiking group and grabbed a teenager.
Parks officials sent officers to investigate reports of a cougar sighting on the Lakeshore trail.
The officers were returning from the trail at the park, which is in the southwest corner of the province, when additional calls came in from hikers. They said they had encountered the cougar, and that it had grabbed a teenage girl from the group.
The girl sustained minor injuries.
The cougar was eventually found south of the town site and destroyed by resource officers.
Dennis Madsen, a resource conservation manager with the park, said the cougar's behaviour was unusual because the animals usually avoid humans, especially if they are in groups.
"We don't think it had any kittens. It didn't appear to be lactating so [there's] nothing to indicate it was an unhealthy cougar or having any difficulty feeding itself," said Madsen.
"Why it suddenly chose to behave in such an unusual manner is something we may not know,"
An autopsy will be performed on the cougar to hopefully shed light on the cougar's behaviour.
Park users are warned to:
- Keep children close.
- Travel in groups.
- Carry bear spray.
- Keep pets on leashes.
Classes will start Monday and Tuesday across the province, but the three weeks lost won't be made up
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