Cougar Attack in Banff: A Fictitious Incident


What seemed to be an extraordinary event in February 2024, making headlines across Canada and around the world, about the alleged puma attack in Banff National Park on a courageous young solo hiker in the Rocky Mountains, according to authorities, turned out to be a story without scientific evidence to support it. The Cougar Attack in Banff: A Fictitious Incident.

Weilermann’s Account

23-year-old Spencer Weilermann was hiking the Rockbound Lake trail in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada when he felt ‘the call of nature’ and decided to step off the path about 20 meters to tend to his personal needs.


“I felt a giant weight on my shoulder. Something was scratching my face,” Weilermann claimed, narrating the incident in detail to authorities, fearing he would lose his life to the cougar’s jaws.

The young hiker continued his story, “I just grabbed as much fur as I could, threw it off my shoulder, did a kind of front flip, and we tumbled down the hill. It was pure adrenaline. I wasn’t thinking. It was just an immediate reaction to get this off me,” he asserted.


After his encounter with the cougar, Weilermann composed himself and returned to the parking lot on his own, where he took the time to call 911 and report the emergency.

Within minutes, he was in the company of a Parks Canada worker to whom he recounted the incident. “My glasses fell off. I don’t know if I lost consciousness, but all I remember is I woke up, and I held onto the cougar and hit it for my life. I was yelling, but yes, after a few hits, I must have landed on something because it just bolted into the bush.”

Safe from the Puma

He was soon transported to Canmore Hospital with some scratches on his face and minor injuries to soft tissues that didn’t threaten his life.

That same night, Parks Canada, the authority for National Parks in Canada. They decided to close the Castle Mountain Lookout and Silverton Falls area, which, of course, includes Rockbound Lake, the location of the supposed attack, situated halfway between Banff and Lake Louise.

Also Read: Endemic Mammals of Canada

In Parks Canada’s post, it read, “Parks Canada asks park visitors to avoid these areas and respect the current closures to ensure the safety of the public and Parks Canada team members working in the area.”

Everything seemed to point to a happy ending in a story of bravery, determination, resilience, loaded with strength, and even heroism in saving his life. There was just one problem: everything indicates that the Cougar Attack in Banff was a fabricated incident.

Investigation Results

Parks Canada officials claimed they couldn’t find any evidence that Spencer Weilermann was ever attacked by a cougar in the Rockbound Lake.

Despite meticulous analysis and an exhaustive search in the area, as well as in Weilermann’s belongings, they found no cougar DNA anywhere. They also found no physical evidence of any puma’s presence in the area of the alleged attack—no traces, fur, droppings, footprints, in conclusion, nothing.


“Parks Canada has completed its investigation into an incident reported by a visitor on February 12, 2024, in the Rockbound Lake area within Banff National Park. Following standard protocol, Parks Canada thoroughly searched the reported incident area and found no signs of cougar activity. Parks Canada also conducted forensic tests to corroborate the initial findings,” the entity stated in a release.

It appears the cougar only existed in Weilermann’s imagination, and what seemed to be an epic story ended up being a tall tale. It’s unknown what the purpose was behind inventing such a story, but such fanciful fabrications only provoke unfounded fears in communities.

Also Read: Tuscany, a Community in Calgary Proud of Its Moose

“For centuries, unfounded reasons to fear predators have had a devastating impact on our ecosystems. Cougars play an integral role, just like wolves, in maintaining our ecological balance. Unfounded claims driven by fear often lead to the unnecessary killing of these important predators,” stated Wildlife Biologist Lisa Dahlseide, B.Sc., Conservation Biologist.

The prestigious biologist stated, “The Miistakis Institute recently released its wildlife camera report, and cougars have been living peacefully in Fish Creek and Weaselhead (parks within the city of Calgary) for as long as the city has been present. As far as I know, there has never been a negative human encounter with cougars in Calgary’s history.”

Truths about Cougars

The last recorded puma attack in Canada happened over 20 years ago when 30-year-old Frances Frost was skiing near Lake Minnewanka.

However, different experts in conservation and animal behavior agree that “a cougar attack on a human is extremely rare,” as stated by Dr. José Fernando González-Maya, Ph.D., Director of ProCat and a permanent consultant for Natural Press.

Clio Smeeton, Director of the Cochrane Ecological Institute, in statements to Citytv News Calgary, stated that the presence of cougars in areas where they’re not usually seen may be due to the 2023 fires in Alberta and British Columbia, displacing a large amount of wildlife. “They have to move away from where the fire was to find food they can eat, and if you’ve had the biggest year recorded, a large part of Alberta burned,” said the renowned conservationist.


Conservation Biologist Lisa Dahlseide, B.Sc., also from CEI, stated that “people can call CEI in the case of injured or orphaned wildlife. Alberta has some excellent courses on how to act smartly in front of bears and cougars.” She recommends the work of Kim Thitchner in “Bear Safety and More.”

Final Recommendations

In case of an encounter with a wildlife predator, Dahlseide advises, “stay calm and never run. If they haven’t noticed you, simply walk calmly in the opposite direction. If they have noticed you and seem frightened, then make yourself big, speak loudly, and hold your ground.”

As a final recommendation, it’s important to remember that if we’re going to explore wildlife areas, what we can expect is to encounter animals typical of wildlife areas. Enjoying nature involves the possibility of such encounters, but not like the Cougar Attack in Banff: A Fictitious Incident.


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