Big Cat in The Backyard

In July of 2014 a family in Grafton Ontario spotted a rather big cat enjoying their backyard.

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Cougar tracks in the garden – all images Toronto Sun unless otherwise stated

The Wilson family spotted the Cougar in their backyard, resting under their deck and taking in a shady spot when these stunning pictures were taken. The Cougar had been seen wandering around the area for a week and was thought to be domesticated by the way he had been acting.

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Cougars, Mountain Lions, Ontario, Canada, Cougar in the backyard, Grafton Ontario, Port Hope Ontario, First Cougar live trapped in Ontario, Cougar trapped in Ontario was a pet, Zoo sauvage de Saint-Feelicien in Quebec

Cougars, Mountain Lions, Ontario, Canada, Cougar in the backyard, Grafton Ontario, Port Hope Ontario, First Cougar live trapped in Ontario, Cougar trapped in Ontario was a pet, Zoo sauvage de Saint-Feelicien in Quebec

Cougars, Mountain Lions, Ontario, Canada, Cougar in the backyard, Grafton Ontario, Port Hope Ontario, First Cougar live trapped in Ontario, Cougar trapped in Ontario was a pet, Zoo sauvage de Saint-Feelicien in Quebec

Cougars, Mountain Lions, Ontario, Canada, Cougar in the backyard, Grafton Ontario, Port Hope Ontario, First Cougar live trapped in Ontario, Cougar trapped in Ontario was a pet, Zoo sauvage de Saint-Feelicien in Quebec

Cougars, Mountain Lions, Ontario, Canada, Cougar in the backyard, Grafton Ontario, Port Hope Ontario, First Cougar live trapped in Ontario, Cougar trapped in Ontario was a pet, Zoo sauvage de Saint-Feelicien in Quebec

The Ministry of Natural Resources were called in to set a live trap which was baited with steak and chicken. The trap was set up in the Wilson’s family yard and eventually hunger got the better of the cat as he headed right into it.

Cougars, Mountain Lions, Ontario, Canada, Cougar in the backyard, Grafton Ontario, Port Hope Ontario, First Cougar live trapped in Ontario, Cougar trapped in Ontario was a pet, Zoo sauvage de Saint-Feelicien in Quebec

The Wilson family stayed clear of the trap to keep the cat calm while Ministry officials were called.

Cougars, Mountain Lions, Ontario, Canada, Cougar in the backyard, Grafton Ontario, Port Hope Ontario, First Cougar live trapped in Ontario, Cougar trapped in Ontario was a pet, Zoo sauvage de Saint-Feelicien in Quebec

Cougars are notoriously shy and do not like to be around people but this cat was exhibiting behavior that showed he was used to being around humans. Ministry officials concluded that he must have been captive and it was suspected he belonged to a man who had a number of wild animals and operated a private sanctuary in the area.

Cougars, Mountain Lions, Ontario, Canada, Cougar in the backyard, Grafton Ontario, Port Hope Ontario, First Cougar live trapped in Ontario, Cougar trapped in Ontario was a pet, Zoo sauvage de Saint-Feelicien in Quebec

It was later confirmed the Cougar, named Charlie, was a resident of the private game reserve near Grafton and had “escaped”. After being trapped and checked out Charlie was sent to the Zoo sauvage de Saint-Feelicien in Quebec where he had two root canals, due to broken canines, and was released into a 4,000 square foot enclosure with other Cougars.

Cougars have been making a comeback in Ontario and one was photographed, after years of reported sightings, by trail cam on Lake Huron’s Manitoulin Island in 2014. Rick Rosatte, senior research scientist and cougar specialist with the Ministry of Natural Resources in Ontario told The Muskokan online that “There has never been a confirmed attack of a cougar on a human in Ontario, however, if a person encounters a Cougar they should slowly back away from the animal, stand tall and try to look as large as possible. If necessary, throw objects and yell at the animal.” and Despite having more Cougars around, Rosatte said there is no reason to believe your cat, dog or livestock is in particular danger.

The species is native to Ontario but was all but wiped out over a century ago because of hunting and habitat loss. Despite their recent growth, the Cougar is still considered an endangered species in Ontario.

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4 thoughts on “Big Cat in The Backyard

  1. I’m glad this cat wasn’t shot on site! 4,000 sq ft. enclosure with other cats is really small. I had a dance studio that was 4,700 sq. feet. It’s not that much space. I hope the best for him. he’s awfully handsome

    • Yes me to I remember when this happened & was glad for that so many are not so lucky even here. I was thinking the same thing about the size of the new space, I am not familiar with that zoo in QC other than what is online & they have a video on their FB page not too much. I hope to that he is happy.

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