BANFF – A 40-year-old man who harassed a cougar with a slingshot in Banff National Park skipped out on his court appearance.
Parks Canada officials say the Prince Albert, Sask. individual charged in this incident did not appear in court and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
“No further details are available at this time, as this is now an ongoing investigation,” said Amy Krause, a public relations and communications officer for Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay.
On May 31, 2020, a member of the public reported to Parks Canada that a cougar was being harassed with a slingshot on the Trans-Canada Highway about eight kilometres east of Lake Louise.
The wild cat had made its way onto the wrong side of the wildlife exclusion fencing adjacent to the busy highway.
Parks Canada resource conservation officers who attended were able to safely coax the cougar to the safe side of the fencing and away from the highway.
When the wildlife managers responded, the animal was agitated and exhibiting behaviour typical of a stress response.
Using a vehicle description and photos provided by witnesses, law enforcement wardens were able to track down the vehicle and its occupants further east along the Trans-Canada Highway.
Charges were laid against one person for disturbing wildlife in a national park and for possession of a firearm. A slingshot is considered a firearm under the Canada National Parks Act.
Meanwhile, a wide-spread cougar warning for the Banff townsite and surrounding area has been lifted.
The Tunnel Mountain area closure remains in effect to ensure habitat security for cougars hunting in the area.