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Cougar sighted near Fort Providence

Jessica Klinkenberg
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, August 22, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - A motorist driving from Fort Providence to Yellowknife on Aug. 15 caught sight of a cougar.

Vita Morin said she was 70 kilometres outside Fort Providence at about 7:30 p.m. when she noticed a light-coloured animal on the side of the road, and initially thought it was a lynx because of its colour.

Growing up in Yellowknife, she helped her father check on his traps and he had described lynxes to her.

"But when I got closer, I saw that it was a cougar," she said. "It was large, it was about the size of an Alaskan malamute. I knew there were cougars up here, my dad told me that, but I've never seen one up-close and personal."

She said the cougar probably weighed about 200 pounds.

"He looked very healthy," she said. "He didn't look spooked, didn't look like I was intruding in his area."

She said that she approached the cougar in her car and stopped. The cougar then came out onto the road.

"He looked at me, threw his head and continued to go and walked right in front of my truck and off into the bush," she said.

Since then, Morin said that she's been telling her story to friends and family.

"People are just shocked and like 'Oh my god, they're really up here.' I'm a Northern girl, I've been here all my life. This is one of the top 10 most memorable occasions."

Recent cougar sightings in the NWT

May 2007: A cougar was spotted May 9, 40 km north of Yellowknife on Hwy. 3. A second sighting was reported the last week of May on the Ingraham Trail near the Cassidy Point turnoff.

November 2004: A cougar was reported near Colville Lake.

August 2004: A cougar was spotted several times outside of Fort Smith.

May 2004: Two cougar sightings were reported near Yellowknife, one 30 km outside of Yellowknife on Hwy. 3, and the second at the junction outside of Rae.