Parks Canada officials closed part of the Banff townsite Saturday, a day after receiving a call from a man who fought off a cougar with a skateboard after the animal knocked him to the ground.
The north side of the townsite along both sides of the Canadian Pacific rail line, between Norquay Road and the Compound Road, is off limits until further notice.
Those who violate the notice face charges under the National Parks Regulation with a maximum fine of $5,000.
Bill Hunt, manager of resource conservation for the Banff field unit of Parks Canada, said the area was closed after a second call about a cougar chasing a deer near the townsite.
The original caller also came forward.
“On Saturday, we were able to track down the (man),” he said. “He was hit from behind and knocked to the ground.
“He smacked it with a skateboard he was carrying,” added Hunt.
The man did not initially provide his name for fear he would get in trouble for striking the animal, but Hunt said the man, who Parks Canada was able to speak with on Saturday, did the right thing in the situation.
The skateboard will be analyzed for evidence.
While news of the cougar attack buzzed through town over the weekend, wildlife specialists were sent to scour the area for the animal.
Dog teams have been brought in from southern Alberta to track the animal and officials have collected some scat to determine DNA.
“The big push right now is just trying to create awareness,” said Hunt, noting officers are warning people on the trails and around the Tunnel Mountain campground.
Some hikers on the Tunnel loop said they saw parks officials out with the dog teams Sunday afternoon.
There are about six or seven officers and three or four dog teams out in the area.
Should they find the cougar, Hunt said they will immobilize the animal and assess its health by checking its body condition and teeth.
It could be destroyed if it’s deemed unhealthy, Hunt said.source