Mountain lion is put down after killing dog in Steamboat
A fearless mountain lion that killed a family dog in Routt County and posed a threat to human life — specifically, young children, was euthanized Dec. 27.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Steamboat Springs Police responded to the scene and determined the cat remained under a raised portion of the home after the killing of the family pet, named Maison. Based on the scene and witness accounts, law enforcement confirmed the death of the pet was a result of the mountain lion attack and the lion had fed upon it.
Wildlife officers left the cat overnight, anticipating it would leave the area and minimize safety concerns. However, the mountain lion was still lodged under the home nearly eight hours later.
“This is odd behavior for an animal that usually moves away from any sort of human contact,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Jim Haskins. “Our priority is human safety. Small children in the area and the animals unwillingness to relocate demonstrated profound risk.”
Haskins and his officers will monitor the area for additional lion sightings. He urged the public to call Colorado Parks and Wildlife or Colorado State Patrol immediately if they have had a close encounter with an aggressive wild animal.
CPW recommends the following for people living in lion country:
• Make lots of noise if you come and go from dusk to dawn, when mountain lions are most active.
• Install outdoor lighting, especially in areas where you walk.
• Closely supervise children whenever they play outdoors. Make sure children are inside before dusk and not outside before dawn. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.
• Remove vegetation to eliminate hiding places for lions, especially around children’s play areas. Make it difficult for lions to approach unseen.
• Planting non-native shrubs and plants that deer often prefer to eat encourages wildlife to come onto your property. Predators follow prey. Don’t feed any wildlife.
• Keep your pet under control. Roaming pets are easy prey and can attract lions. Bring pets in at night. If you leave your pet outside, keep it in a kennel with a secure top. Don’t feed pets outside; this can attract raccoons and other animals that are eaten by lions. Store all garbage securely.
• Place livestock in enclosed sheds or barns at night. Close doors to all outbuildings since inquisitive lions may go inside for a look.
• Encourage neighbors to follow these simple precautions.
• When you walk or hike in mountain lion country, go in groups and make plenty of noise to reduce your chances of surprising a lion. A sturdy walking stick is a good idea; it can be used to ward off a lion. Make sure children are close to you and within your sight at all times.
• Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation.
• Stay calm when you come upon a lion. Talk calmly yet firmly to it. Move slowly. Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.
• Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you’re wearing one. If you have small children with you, protect them by picking them up so they won’t panic and run.
• If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. What you want to do is convince the lion you are not prey and that you may in fact be a danger to the lion.
• Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools and their bare hands successfully. Remain standing. If you fall, try to get back up.
For more information about living with wildlife, go to http://www.cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlife.aspx.
For more information about living with lions, go to http://www.cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlifeLion1.aspx.
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