The government of Saskatchewan is continuing to take measures to improve public safety and reduce cougar conflicts.
“Sightings have become more common in the Cypress Hills region and along the entire length of the forest fringe from Meadow Lake to Hudson Bay,” Environment Minister Scott Moe said in a media release.
“Although cougars are a protected animal and are a natural part of the Saskatchewan landscape, we take the concerns of residents seriously and will implement measures to reduce conflicts.”
Conservation officers and Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation staff will remain the first point of contact for all predator-related complaints.
The government said conservation officers will continue to investigate all incidents where public safety is at risk and will now respond in one or more of the following ways:
- Contact a local predator control specialist to trap and dispatch the cougar
- Acquire the services of trained houndsmen to help deal with known cougar encounters
- Ensure that specialized equipment, including functional live traps, is available in problem areas
- Allow landowners to retain animals killed when protecting property, under a permit
“We believe that the additional measures the Ministry of Environment has put into place are a positive step toward reducing cougar conflicts,” Saskatchewan Stock Growers president Shane Jahnke said in a media release.
“Cougar encounters have become more frequent in many areas of the province, and these measures will provide more options to address public safety concerns and incidences of livestock predation.”
Trappers who incidentally trap a cougar will be allowed to keep and sell the cougar pelts with a permit. Trappers must report it to a conservation officer to ensure that accurate records are maintained and biological samples can be acquired.
The ministry will issue permits to rural municipalities that are experiencing ongoing concerns with cougars to bring in an approved specialist to deal with specific human-wildlife conflicts.
The exact population of cougars in Saskatchewan is difficult to determine.
Anyone who is having problems with cougars or other predators should contact their local Ministry of Environment office or call the 24-hour tip line at 1-800-667-7561.