Cougar spotted crossing Highway 3 near Yellowknife

A cougar was spotted on Thursday outside Yellowknife, the NWT’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources has warned.

The animal was seen crossing Highway 3 seven to eight kilometres outside the sand pits and golf course on the city’s periphery, the department said in an emailed statement.

ENR said wildlife officers are patrolling the site and signage has been placed to warn anyone entering the area.


“Cougars are elusive animals, and there have been periodic sightings in southern parts of the NWT,” said department spokesperson Mike Westwick in an email.

“This sighting is likely a transient cougar outside of its normal range, and may be moving through the area.”

While it isn’t the first time a cougar has been spotted in the NWT, such sightings are rare.

Back in 2001, ENR published a report suggesting cougars may be breeding in the North. “At a minimum, transient cougars are regular visitors to the Northwest Territories,” that report stated. “We believe a small, but viable, breeding population currently resides here.”

However, cubs have yet to be spotted in the territory.


The department recommends that anyone encountering a cougar stay calm, keep the animal in view and back away slowly. ENR warns not to turn your back on the cougar and not to run. If you are attacked by a cougar, the department says to fight back, focusing on the cougar’s face and eyes. (Good luck.)

Sightings can be reported to (867) 873-7181, the department said.