After receiving numerous reports of aggressive mountain lion behavior in west Glenwood Springs, Colorado last month, and despite outrage expressed by some concerned residents, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has rid the area of what officials considered to be its most dangerous predators, reports Alex Zorn for the Vail Daily.
During January, five mountain lions were trapped and killed in the neighborhood, four of which were believed to be a mother and her three kittens, according to CPW Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will. Will said officials are not actively going after more lions at this time, since trapping and killing the last one last week. Earlier in January, infrared nighttime video taken from a residence in West Glenwood showed four lions stalking a West Glenwood Springs neighborhood, leading officials to capture what was believed to be a mother with her three grown kittens.
Will added that mountain lions will typically travel with their mother for their first full year, sometimes more. He believed each of the lions killed last month to be at least a year old and over 80 pounds.
He added that, along with previous reports officials received, one West Glenwood man reported a lion had stalked him and his dog during the middle of the day earlier in the month.
“When we hear of those lions and that kind of behavior, we remove them for human health and safety,” Will said.
While Will said that euthanizing the cats is often the only option, wildlife officials have received numerous calls the past month from residents criticizing their actions and motives. When the Post Independent reported on the West Glenwood lions and CPW’s plans, dozens of readers commented that they considered the methods to be too extreme.
“Please do everything you can to not euthanize them! This needs to be the last resort,” Michelle McCurdy commented on the Jan. 17 article.
Will added that it became imperative for officials to capture and kill these animals because they had become so unpredictable and were not showing any fear to humans. He believed the lions were acting so aggressively because they learned the behavior from their mother and “the more habituated they become, the more dangerous they are.” He added that officials received reports of a deer carcass near homes in West Glenwood just last week. The animal was likely killed by a lion, according to Will, but officials have no plans to try to trap the latest predator unless its behavior becomes more aggressive.
“That’s lions doing normal lion behavior,” Will explained. “It is not giving us any reason to target it at this time.”
Anyone who has an encounter with a mountain lion in the area is asked to immediately contact the local Division of Wildlife office at 970-947-2920.
More information on living with mountain lions can be found here.