Mountain lion sighting prompts Sopris Elementary lockout |

Mountain lion sighting prompts Sopris Elementary lockout

Will Grandbois

A mountain lion sighting near Sopris Elementary School in south Glenwood Springs sent kids inside Wednesday afternoon.

The school was on lockout — not lockdown — for about an hour, according to principal Kathy Whiting.

“We just pulled everybody into the building,” she said.

School officials also notified parents, and as most of the staff headed into early release Wednesday meetings, school administrators helped arrange for buddies and escorts for kids walking home.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife and local law enforcement were also alerted.

“Our officers are aware of the situation,” said Parks and Wildlife public information officer Mike Porras. “They did respond and are on the lookout for the lion.”

“Kids and adults are on the alert now,” Whiting said late in the afternoon. “We’ll have extra eyes and ears out the next few days.”

In the end, she said, it goes with the terrain.

“We live in the mountains,” she said. “We love it, but we also have neighboring residents like mountain lions.”

Porras agreed.

“We’re surrounded by wildlife; it’s one of the best parts of living in Colorado,” he said. “We encourage people to stay away from wild animals. Don’t approach them, don’t harass them, certainly don’t feed them.”

He emphasized that mountain lions usually avoid people and don’t see them as prey. Pets are a different matter.

“We always caution people to keep their eyes on their pets and on their children in areas where they might encounter a lion, especially at dusk and dawn,” he said.

In the highly unlikely event that you’re attacked, Porras said, you want to stand your ground, make yourself larger, yell and fight back.

Ideally, avoid a confrontation altogether.

“If an animal is acting aggressively, don’t take matters into your own hands,” he said. “Do the right thing and call a wildlife officer.”

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