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Cougar scare closes park, mom and kids run

An afternoon in the wild got a bit too adventurous for a group of moms and children who were chased from a southwest Calgary nature area after spotting what they believed to be a cougar.

Griffith Woods Park near Discovery Ridge was closed for two hours Wednesday while police helped fish and wildlife officers search unsuccessfully for the cat.

Anna-Marie Saunders said her dog spotted the animal across a seven-metre wide creek. She alerted the other three moms and up to 18 children in their care.

“The kids were scattered everywhere, so we just yelled: ‘Run! Cougar!’ “

Fish and Wildlife officer Ed Pirogowicz said the cougar was likely a juvenile weighing about 22 kilograms, or about a quarter the weight of a full-grown adult.

Pirogowicz thinks the animal was simply curious about the group and bolted after it heard the commotion.

Although cougar sightings are not unusual, Pirogowicz urged residents to be cautious when outdoors.

He advised people who spot a cougar to keep watching the animal as they slowly back away.

“If you turn and run, that’s a real chase-me signal with any type of animal.”

jfries@theherald.canwest.com
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