Depending on where you live it's not abnormal to spot wildlife in your backyard, squirrels, bunnies, raccoons, even possums. But imagine walking into your backyard and seeing a 150 pound cougar. Yikes! Well, that's what Albertans in Edmonton and Calgary have been dealing with, and cougar attacks are on the rise.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reports that more cougar attacks have occurred in the past 20 years in Canada and the Western U.S. than what's been reported in the past 80 years.
In May a cyclist was killed by a cougar while riding near Seattle's Cascade Mountains, and in 2001 Frances Frost was killed by a cougar in Alberta's Banff National Park.
Wildlife experts attribute these attacks to urban development and city expansion that encroaches on cougar habitats. As humans wander into cougar habitats their risk of an encounter increases. The other danger is that people can unknowingly pass cougars hiding in the wild without even noticing them.
And cougars don't seem to be fazed by humans, often walking along pedestrian paths, forestry roads and killing their prey closer to humans. Despite the increased danger of a lion-like kitty cat watching you, there are precautions you can take such as being aware of your surroundings and not putting out food for other animals such as deer and birds that could also unintentionally attract cougars.
Otherwise, beware of the cougars!