|What to do if you encounter a cougar|
|It is extremely rare that you will encounter a cougar in Manitoba, due to their low numbers, stealth, and general desire to avoid contact with people.
However, should you encounter a cougar, there are a few basic safety tips to keep in mind.
Maintain eye contact.
Pick up small children and pets
(so they do not panic and run).
Stand and face the cougar. Give the cougar an escape route - most will try to avoid you.
If the cougar does not leave immediately, back away calmly at first (keeping eye contact).
If it comes towards you, do what you can to scare it away.
Try to appear larger or taller and intimidating.
Open your jacket wide, put kids on top of your shoulders, lift your hat up high and wave it.
Speak firmly and loudly. Throw things!
Don't play dead. You must fight back if a cougar attacks you. Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can reach without looking away or turning your back. Do not crouch down (you will look like their four-legged prey).
Don't walk your dog in cougar populated areas.
They are attracted to small animals.
If a cougar planned to attack you, he would be hidden and attack you with a surprise burst of energy. That's cougar-style. In such a case, you have no time to prepare defense except to fight as hard as you can. Many cougars have been scared off by someone punching and kicking at them.
A number of people are killed every year by cougars, so never take them forgranted. Never attempt to approach them for a photo unless you are protected against an attack inside a vehicle or such.
If you are ever at the zoo, watch the cougar's eyes when a dog or child approaches. He will follow them, not the adults. It's a scary thing to watch, but it let's you realize who is most at danger from a cougar attack. Never let children run off down a trail ahead of you when you are hiking in the wilderness.
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