Mountain lion sightings prompt variety of responses | PostIndependent.com
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Mountain lion sightings prompt variety of responses

Mountain lion sightings are not uncommon in the neighborhoods along Four Mile Road.But signs warning neighbors not to run or jog through the neighborhood because of mountain lions are a little bizarre.A few weeks ago, the Colorado Division of Wildlife posted a sign near the Sunlight View neighborhood and surrounding areas telling residents to beware of mountain lions.The sign was posted after two people called Justin Martens, DOW district wildlife manager in Carbondale, to report a mountain lion and a cub feeding on three deer carcasses in the neighborhood.The DOW doesn’t always post signs after wildlife sightings, Martens said.”It depends on the situation,” he said. “In this situation, where they made the kill in a back yard near a neighborhood with lots of kids, it’s a good idea to let people know what’s going on.”Karen Gentry, who lives with her family off Four Mile Road near Four Mile Creek, said she’s taken precautions to avoid an unpleasant encounter with a mountain lion since she first saw a lion up close.Five years ago, Gentry heard her daughters scream and went to check out the situation. With her face pressed up against the window, a mother mountain lion and her cubs peered in at Gentry and her daughters.Gentry has lived near Four Mile for 10 years, and in that time, every member of her family has seen a mountain lion.Recently, Gentry’s 11-year-old daughter was picking flowers down by the creek. She saw a mountain lion in the bushes and ran home.”She said she felt like she was being stalked,” Gentry said.Running is at the top of the list of things not to do when encountering a lion.Like domestic cats, mountain lions are attracted to moving objects and want to engage in a game of chase.Gentry – who looked the mountain lion in the eye as it was staring at her through the window – and her daughter, knew ahead of time how they should respond to a mountain lion.”You just don’t know until the time comes how you’re going to react,” Gentry said.Never stare a mountain lion in the eye. They see it as a challenge and are more likely to attack, according to the DOW.Parents should keep children close at all times, as they are small and easier to go after.Taking proactive steps, such as not feeding wildlife, also deters the animals from human contact, according to the DOW.Since the sightings, Gentry trimmed thick brush and bushes away from her property to discourage mountain lions from hiding. The Gentrys also purchased a Great Pyrenees dog that stays with the children when they play outside.”It’s pretty amazing to see wildlife like that once you’re past the scary part,” Gentry said.Gentry is cautious, especially with her children, but realizes the lions made their home before she made hers.”The more populated this area becomes, the more chance people have of running into them,” Marten said. “It isn’t a threat. It’s what mountain lions do. They move with the deer and when the deer move somewhere else, they will too.”Contact Ivy Vogel: 945-8515, ext. 534ivogel@postindependent.com


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