A fox was sighted behind Rocky Mountain Village on Dec. 18.

Conservation officers warn of wildlife hazards

There has been no new information or confirmed sightings of the cougar in the Fairy Creek area that was responsible for killing a dog.

There has been no new information or confirmed sightings of the cougar in the Fairy Creek area that was responsible for killing a dog a few weeks ago. If a cougar is seen please report it to the authorities immediately for investigation.

“There have been no attacks,  new information or confirmed sightings of this cougar in the Fairy Creek area reported to the Conservation Officer Service,” said Frank DeBoon a Conservation Officer for the Fernie area. “Any sightings or aggressive cougar behaviour around Fernie should be reported immediately to 1-877-952-7277 so that hounds can be used to locate the cougar and it can be removed, if deemed necessary, for public safety.”

During this time of year drivers that see wildlife will most often find deer and elk, or, depending on the region, bighorn sheep.

DeBoon recommends that drivers slow down and warn other drivers by using their four-way flashers when safe to do so.

He cautions that the majority of sightings will likely happen at dawn or dusk when the animals are most active.

“The most common animals seen along the highways this time of year are deer and elk throughout the area and bighorn sheep between the tunnel and Elko on Highway 3,” said DeBoon. “Drivers should slow down if they see wildlife along the roads and drive to road conditions. Hazard lights can be used to advise oncoming traffic of animals on or near the roads. Be especially vigilant at dusk and dawn and watch ahead for any unusual driver behaviour, which could signal drivers avoiding animals on the road.”

In the Elk Valley communities, foxes are being sighted more often. deBoon asks residents to refrain from feeding and conditioning these animals to people.

“Foxes are becoming more common around Elk Valley communities and residents should avoid feeding them or conditioning them to people, as they can prey on cats and other small pets,” said DeBoon.

Concerning hunting seasons, DeBoon notes that there is an open season for wolves and cougars at this time.

He also adds that the biggest concern, especially for pet owners, is the trapping season.

“Currently there is an open season for cougars and wolves but the biggest concern for pet owners is the trapping season. Snares and other killing traps are being used by trappers and dogs can get caught in them if they are unleashed or running at large,” said DeBoon.

“Watch for signs advising of traps in areas you are recreating in-cross country skiing, snowshoeing, etc. and keep dogs restrained. Another concern can be dogs running into aggressive moose or deer, particularly if they run ahead of their owners.”

DeBoon encourages the public to inform the conservation office of any major wildlife sightings.