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Hiker and dog attacked by cougar in Strathcona Park

The hikers used bear spray to scare the big cat away.
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A cougar warning sign is seen at Elk Falls Provincial Park last summer. A woman and her dog were injured over the weekend on the Elk River Trail in Strathcona Provincial Park, and the trail has been closed. TIMES COLONIST

A cougar attacked a dog and bit its owner as she was trying to intervene on a remote trail in Strathcona Provincial Park on Saturday.

The incident happened on the Elk River Trail near Landslide Lake as two women were hiking with their dogs off leash, said the B.C. Conservation Officers Service.

The hikers used bear spray to scare the big cat away.

The women and the dogs were taken out of the park by helicopter. The woman who was bitten received medical attention at Campbell River Hospital, and the dog is expected to recover from its wounds.

The Conservation Officers Service said its investigation determined it was a defensive attack by the cougar, and no further action was being taken.

BC Parks had posted signs of cougar sightings and activity prior to the attack. It has since closed the Elk River Trail and posted additional signs. The trailhead is located off Highway 28 between Campbell River and Gold River.

Updates on trail closure will be posted on the BC Parks website.

dkloster@timescolonist.com