Statement on cougar incident in Calgary


**UPDATED**

The decision to euthanize a cougar on the grounds of the South Health Campus in Calgary was a difficult one to make, and it was made in the interest of public safety. Large predators that enter an urban area can pose a significant public safety concern.

Officers would have liked to tranquilize the animal. However, tranquilizing cougars can be very risky, especially in a situation like this with the adrenaline in the cougar likely to cancel the effects of the tranquilizer. Even in normal circumstances, the drug doesn’t take effect immediately, and in a situation like today, it can make it worse—by making the cougar very agitated when hit by the dart. This, combined with the speed and agility of cougars, made it a high risk to the people nearby.

The cougar was right next to the hospital entrance, and officers had to act quickly to mitigate the public safety concern before the animal escaped. It is unfortunate it ended this way, and the officers had to make a very difficult choice with public safety as their first priority.

To ensure proper procedure and protocol was followed, Jonathan Denis, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General ordered a review into the incident.

The review found euthanizing the cougar was the appropriate action to ensure public safety, but steps must be taken to ensure the proper tools and tactics are used in all similar situations in the future.

Here are links to the review and appendices:

Critical Incident Review Report

Appendices 1-5

Appendices 6-10

Appendices 11-12

 

 

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22 Responses to Statement on cougar incident in Calgary

  1. Valerie Crebo says:

    This is a follow up to the Cougar Killing at SHC. It is now the end of November and I am wondering what has happened with the inquiry into to this incident?

  2. Jim Kulchisky says:

    This killing was not necessary and should be investigated based on eye witness accounts and methods employed to preserve the cougar’s life. Wildlife Officers should be striving to preserve wildlife as much as possible not destroy it. I have watched hundreds of wildlife shows where tranquilizers were used on lions, tigers, cheetahs, bears, cougars, etc. and it does not take very long before the animal succumbs. From the comments I have been reading there were no cages or capture nets brought to site. If this was the case, then killing the cougar was the official approach from the beginning – not tranquilizing it and transporting it back to wilderness areas. I don’t buy the excuse the cougar had to be killed. It is inevitable that wild predator animals will regularly venture into city looking for food including wild rabbits which we have a large number of in our Calgary. The only way to be a predator immune city would be to regularly hunt down and kill every predator animal that enters any of our parks or city limits. It would be a absolute shame if we degraded to such a drastic measure. Get better tranquilizer guns guys, and bring your cages and capture nets next time – this situation is going to happen again and again! Use your real bullets only as a last resort when all other life preservation efforts have been exhausted and there is imminent danger to a person. Anytime there is a predator animal killing an investigation should be held to see if it was handled right and what could have been done differently to preserve the animal.

  3. Richard says:

    What a shame! Not even a humane killing. Let’s also not forget that these are endangered animals!

  4. Old six gear says:

    Are you kidding me, what if something happened to anyone in that place, thank goodness nothing did. The wildlife officers were doing their job; which is to protect the people from being idiots. There was a Bobcat in Calgary at one point and people living near the area were told to keep their pets on a leash and stay away from the house, needless to say someone decided it was a good idea to go where the bobcat was with their dog. Dog gets attacked people freak out because of a bobcat, oh they should get rid of it…kill it….take it away! (They didn’t, they left her alone with her kittens) Bobcats are only 30-40 pounds….cougars are more than 100 pounds. What would have happened if some person decided to get a picture with the sweet cougar that wants to eat them….the public would have lost their minds. They had to do what they had to do, I am sure it wasn’t an easy decision, but obviously the cougar wasn’t going anywhere….easy, soft, slow, pink food in the area…..It’s a wild animal that eats meat, there are so many underlying issues with this, habitat loss, human encroachment, just to name a couple, not to mention we would have seen this cat again even if they moved him as they have huge ranges and travel constantly. But before you as trained biologists and officers decide which is best in a situation, which they have repeatedly said a tranquilzer would not have worked and would have created so many more issues….that cat would have taken off and ran straight for the first person to attack. They are professionals with years of experience, have seen things that people only dream of but still you think you know better because you saw a video. They were doing what they were supposed to do, protecting the public and I commend them even though they are not getting anything but slack for it.

    • Wayne Macdonald says:

      Next time your family wants to go see a wild animal just drop by your zoo they have all of them safe away from you so you don’t get eaten by the big scary cat. Then get on the City to put a fence all away around the city so do bad critters can get in. Stay in your house and watch the nature network so you can say you enjoy nature . By the way more kids get killed by DRUNK DRIVERS then a wild critter in the city have a great day

    • A J Taylor says:

      Exactly, well stated, couldn’t agree with you more!!

    • Mankind must learn that the life of an animal is in
      no way less precious than that of a human being

  5. jen says:

    I saw the video, the cat was sleeping in the grass. Not stalking or even watching it’s surroundings. Had been in any sort of threatening position or mindset, I could accept the actions that were taken, but it was not.
    The death of this animal was unnecessary and uncalled for. SHAME ON YOU.

  6. Pingback: Cougar shot in Calgary spurs public outrage, complaints – Canada Times

  7. Wayne Macdonald says:

    I am sure there are other ways to deal with a large predators . We will soon not have any wild life if the first reaction is to shot to kill (and have to take 3 shoots point blank better get some shooting practice in there boys if that’s the best you can do ) I ma sure there will be more large predators enter the city limits cant have that can we .

  8. Valerie Crebo says:

    I work at SHC and was on the 5th floor right above the tall grass the cougar was hiding in. The cat was looking up at the window and you could see he was scared, likely trying to figure out how to get out of there. He was just laying there not moving. The 3 wild life persons circled around the area from the west to the east. Two with rifles and one with a hand gun or short gun. One with the rifle fired and hit the cat in the back area which is when the cat jumped and tried to move away from the 3. He did not make it very far as he was already stumbling around in pain. Then the short man with the small gun moved towards him and shot him two more times I believe and then another one shot him again, this time with a rifle that through the cat back 4 feet at least. He was not dead when they started walking away to get the tarp. He was breathing and jerking…in pain I suspect and dieing. The cat was definately not aggressive and there was absolutely no need to kill him. From the hospial main entrance on the south side of the hospital is all open country where they could have taken it. If the cat had lunged at someone, I get it. There was no one in front of him to lunge at. The public was safe. The police and fire departments were quite a few yards away. The cat was NOT posing a danger or even a risk of danger. Saving the cat’s life by tranquilizing, throwing a net around him and putting him in a cage to transport is what should have been done. There were 3 Wild Life pickups, not one of them with a cage. I saw no nets or poles with lassos. This was an UNNESSARY KILL and DEFINATELY NOT A HUMANE KILLING. That animal suffered. I am totally sick and so very, very angry that this has happened. I could see from the 5th floor right above the cat everything that happened. It is different watching a video or news telecast than seeing it first hand.

    After doing some research I believe they had no intentions of saving the animal to relocate. There were no cages or the poles with the lasso. They did hit it the first time with what I assumed was a tranquilizer as it jumped and started to stumble away. Then the Wildlife people got aggressive and used live amo while the cat was struggling just to stay on its legs. I am not sure they used a tranquilizer at all. The shots I heard were really loud. A news reported said when they heard the shots a block or so away they new the cat had been shot not tranquilized. We build in their territory, the cat was causing NO HARM, and people with guns decide to KILL an innocent animal. As I said before, if the cat was aggressively trying to hurt a human or another animal then yes you probably need to shoot them. This cat was not doing anything but hiding and being scared. Aren’t the Wildlife Persons responsible for this HEROS now? Big guys with guns. Aren’t you brilliant.

    Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, you were not there, so you don’t know. You only know what you are being told. I was there and I saw everything that happened. The cat was hit with what I thought was a tranquilizer, staggering and going down when it was shot with live amo. The wildlife personal did not give the tranq a chance to work and the animal was not going after anyone. It could barely stand on it’s feet. Wildlife officers are there to protect the wild life and the people. I would think their goal is to save and relocate. What I saw was nothing like this. The cat was not being aggressive or threatening. So unless you were there and saw first hand what I have to relive now every day, please acknowledge every situation is different. This was not one of Wildlife Officers outstanding moments.

    • An. says:

      These are not pussy cats!
      Just laying there and sleeping; hello!
      When have you lived in the bush and been stalked, have you
      ever seen how fast and from point
      zero they can pounce!
      When did you finish your years of BIO study, years of practicums, have a heart of gold and profound respect for the environment and people.?
      That is whom these officers are. We have met, known and respected them.
      These seasoned parks officer are true conservationists.

      Check online about the history of attacks in BC’s populated areas, how a parent on a walk in a well populated area park turns their head and their two year old at 20 feet away is irreparably harmed; a miracle that she lived. Several have not been as blessed.
      Attacks in populated areas are devastating.
      Sorry you were traumatized. I applaud the efforts of these officers, they did their best!
      Oh yes, but you in your sterile ‘health and wellness’ building arrogantly,
      know all about cougars.

      • Valerie Crebo says:

        Yes I lived on Vancouver Island for many years which has a high population of cougars. If you did not see this cougar @SHC you do not know what you are talking about.

  9. Wayne says:

    What a bunch of idiots. If one of their loved ones was killed or injured by a cougar they would probably think different.

    • The idiots you speak of beg to disagree, The only “idiots” in this instance were carrying guns, with people gawking out the windows above the scene it was extremely unsafe to discharge a firearm, onlookers could have been seriously injured, the better choice would have been to request assistance from the Calgary Zoo and capture the animal, not as though there was not enough time to do so!

    • Valerie Crebo says:

      Were you there Wayne? If you were you would have seen the animal was completely non aggressive, after no one and minding his own business. If he had been otherwise I might agree with you. I was there and the way theat poor animal was killed was barbaric. First there was no need to kill him as right across the street was open country, there was no danger to humans. If and I state if the Wild Life people were intent on killing him, shooting him in the hing quarters was not going to do it. My thoughts are they tried the trang gun first and whent they hit him he jump from the surprize and trying to find a way out already stumbling away when one of the officers paniced and shot him twice with a hand gun and when he was trying to run still even though falling down, the other office shot him with a rifle blowing him back 3-4 feet. I watched the poor cat breathing and jerking while the officers walked away to get a tarp. One did check his pulse. It was not a clean kill. That poor animal suffered a great deal.

  10. Tanya says:

    I cry foul! This cougar did not have to be shot. I think an inquiry should be made about the trigger happy wildlife murderers! What a disgrace and shame!

  11. Diane Smart says:

    Really? Laying placid by the entrance. Ok. I get it. Main entrance. But placid?……. Shoot to kill???? Come on. Locked down. No movement.

  12. Pure BS, I watched a private video of the incident, actions of law enforcement was total unacceptable. Three shots to kill the poor animal at point blank range. Unacceptable

  13. Martin says:

    I understand what you’re saying, however…there are those who do not beleive this action was needed or necessary. I find that fish and wildlife officers tend to use deadly force far too often then I’m comfortable with and we see this in the news far too often.

    I feel you are sugarcoating a problem and… its not with the animals…. I don’t see this in any other country I’ve lived in except here.. the first example is always “shoot it.”, even Americans are not this bad. this is a disgrace.

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