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Cougars aren't your typical garden pest, but one woman in St. Malo came face-to-face with one while she was out weeding.

Recent reports of cougars, skunks, and other animals in communities across Southeastern Manitoba have some residents extra wary about wildlife.

The cougar has reportedly been spotted several times throughout the St. Malo area, but the latest sighting came to Sara Korosil. She explains:

“I decided to go into the garden to do some weeding before it got too dark and then all of the sudden I heard this loud, bone-chilling scream, and I just happened to look up, and there was the cougar.”

A spokesperson for Manitoba Conservation comments that while wildlife is not unexpected in rural areas, it has been years since a verified cougar sighting. Like most wild animals, they typically avoid humans. Korosil’s experience illustrates this.

“I think I scared him as much as he scared me.” She says, “He had zero interest in me at all, but, it was still too close for comfort, he was right there."

In another wildlife incident, Steinbach dweller, Matt Boese experienced a close encounter with a skunk family that moved in underneath his porch. He explains what it feels like to know there are skunks living beneath you.

“Not great. It's a little dramatic to say you’re constantly living in fear. The house got sprayed so that also means everything in the house smells like skunk.”

Boese explains they have caught the skunks in a live trap and peacefully let them go outside the city. He reminds that Steinbach does not have a policy for handling wildlife, so if anyone has a similar problem they must deal with it on their own.

In light of these incidents, Manitoba Conservation informs that if one finds themselves confronting wildlife they should make themselves appear larger, create noise, maintain eye contact, and back away slowly from the animal, as running could provoke an attack. Whatever the animal, Conservation recommends exercising caution.