Part of Rio Grande closed after lion cub sighting |

Part of Rio Grande closed after lion cub sighting


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The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority on Wednesday closed the Rio Grande Trail between Rock Bottom Ranch and the Catherine Store Bridge because of mountain lion activity.

Facebook photos of three lion kittens were shared repeatedly Wednesday, causing some folks to head to the area in hopes of spotting them, said Brett Meredith, trails manager with RFTA.

Ken Krehbiel, who took the photos while riding his bike on the trail, said he didn’t imagine that people would go looking for them. He said he posted the photos to alert people. He also noted in his post that he got out of the area fast.

“I came around the corner and immediately knew they were mountain lion kittens, so I didn’t stick around,” he said. “They looked really healthy. I would guess the mom was nearby.”

A Colorado Parks & Wildlife official had the same opinion after he went to the area and spotted the kittens. John Groves, district wildlife manager for CPW, strongly advised RFTA to shut down that portion of the trail.

“At this point they appear to be healthy and in good shape,” Groves said. “My thought is now since they look healthy that mom is probably around and was just off hunting somewhere.”

Groves said he’ll continue to monitor the area in the coming days until he can confirm whether the mother is around. In the meantime, people need to stay away from the area and obey the trail closure, he said.

Krehbiel said he didn’t see any sign of the mom but heard a noise that sounded like it could have potentially come from something larger than the kittens. He didn’t spend enough time in the area to find out.

Coincidentally, Krehbiel has been taking photographs of wildlife for years. He sets up nighttime motion-sensor cameras that shoot stills and video. It started out as a hobby that led to a Post Independent Sunday Profile in February 2015.

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