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First ever live cougar caught in Manitoba

A Manitoba trapper hoping to nab a wolf got the surprise of his life when he caught the province’s first-ever live cougar instead.

Clint Janzen set foothold traps at the end of February near Duck Mountain Provincial Parks.

One day he found a coyote in one of them.

“When I went to check, it was dead and ate. The traps I was using doesn’t kill an animal, it just holds them, so I just thought that the wolves had come and killed the coyotes.”

He reset the traps but when he came back the next day, he was face to face with a live cougar.

“It was amazing,” he told CTV News Winnipeg.

He took some video and pictures from a distance, and sent them into the province.

Cougars are a protected species in Manitoba, meaning they cannot be kept or deliberately killed in defence of property.

A female cougar trapped in the Parklands and released by the province is pictured on Feb. 20, 2024. (Province of Manitoba)

Federal and provincial officials arrived soon after. Janzen said they tranquillized it and released it back into the wild.

A spokesperson for the province told CTV News Winnipeg cougar sightings in our province are extremely rare.

They confirmed this is the first time a cougar has ever been captured alive in the province.

Blood, hair and feces samples from the female cougar were collected, and were sent to Assiniboine Park Zoo for DNA analysis.

It was also outfitted with a radio collar before being released. It will send location information back to the province twice a day.

As for Janzen, he said this was definitely the most unusual animal ever to be found in his traps.

“After that ordeal, a friend of mine said ‘All you’ve got left to catch is a Bigfoot,’” he joked.

– With files from CTV’s Jon Hendricks

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