Over the weekend, Airdrie resident, Sheila Annett was enjoying her Saturday morning breakfast and looking over her garden when she noticed something was on her fence.
"I was just staring out at the yard and thought, 'Oh! What's that on the fence?' [The Bobcat] was just sitting there - perfectly posing, ready for a picture," Annett said. "I would say it was at least two feet long and about a foot tall."
Annett, who lives in the Coopers Crossing neighbourhood in Airdrie, recalls that the wild feline visitor appeared sometime between 9:30 and 10 a.m. on the morning of August 19. Annett said that the Bobcat must have jumped from her neighbour's yard onto the fence.
"It just sat on the fence and then it proceeded to look in the yard; then it just nonchalantly walked along the fence and continued its way out of my sight."
Although she has lived in Airdrie for over three decades, this is the first time she has seen a Bobcat. She added that she was surprised that the wild cat was spotted in her yard.
"However, Coopers is full of squirrels right now, so, it might be an easy feast," she guessed.
Annett shared the photos she took of the Bobcat with a friend, who posted them on social media to let other residents know about the animal. Annett said she did not contact Fish and Wildlife to alert them of the Bobcat, stating that from her understanding, wildlife officers would not be able to remove the animal if it is not posing a danger to human life or property.
According, to Fish and Wildlife Alberta, while their offices receive many reports of Bobcat sightings each year, officers will respond when there is a threat to public safety.
Annett, herself noted that the Bobcat was very calm, and even when she took out her phone to take photos, it didn't react - though she was careful to keep a safe distance.
Fish and Wildlife Alberta also noted though rare, Bobcat sightings are increasing in parts of southern Alberta.
"Bobcats in the wild are naturally shy of humans and are normally most active at sunrise and sunset. It is extremely unlikely that a Bobcat will attack a human," the website states. "Bobcats are highly adaptable and if living in or near human development may lose their fear of people and the noises of the city. These Bobcats may also learn to become more active at any time of the day."
Other safety tips to follow to avoid conflict with Bobcats include:
- Do not feed wildlife.
- Keep your garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids.
- Put your garbage and recycling out only on the morning of collection, not earlier.
- Do not leave pet food outdoors.
- Remove bird feeders and bird baths so Bobcats are not drawn into your yard to prey on the birds.
- Trees, shrubs and even grass should be kept trimmed so there is no shelter for Bobcats to hide in. Spaces under decks and outbuildings should be closed off for the same reason.
- Add motion detector lighting to walkways and driveways.
- Dogs, rabbits, chickens or other animals that live outdoors should be kept in a secure enclosure with a strong roof.
The Bobcat is the smallest of Alberta's wild cats. Its signature look is a bobbed tail - the genesis of their name. They have black-tufted ears and dark markings for camouflage.
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