Visitors in the Lionshead Village area in Vail, Colo. were surprised this past weekend with an uncommon visitor – a wild mountain lion. The lion was first spotted Saturday morning by a guest at The Antlers at Vail. The guest alerted a front desk agent, Emily Holguin, and from there, guests were alerted of the mountain lion’s presence in the hotel, and the Vail Police Department was called.
In the meantime, the mountain lion was on the move to his next destination: the Vail Spa Condominiums. Police were able to locate the lion by following its tracks in the snow. Upon arrival at the condo complex, the police were able to contain the animal in the lobby of the building. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department (CPW) was consulted by the police to ensure the mountain lion was contained and handled in a proper, humane manner.
Once the lion was contained, CPW tranquilized and evaluated the animal. Unfortunately, the CPW concluded that the reason for the mountain lion’s close contact with human life was due to how sickly the animal was. Officers at the scene reported that the lion was extremely emaciated, meaning that the lion was extremely weak and frail. Because of the mountain lion’s compromising condition, the CPW ruled that the animal needed to be euthanized immediately.
Mountain lions are normally very elusive animals, and there have hardly ever been any such sightings in the Lionshead area. Officials from the Vail Police Department said that the lion’s critical condition explains its close and abnormal interaction with humans.
The Vail Police Department and Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department used this run-in with a dangerous wild animal to remind Vail residents to call 911 if a wild and potentially harmful animal is spotted in close proximity to humans. As we continue to explore more wild terrain, there is less and less of a barrier between wildlife and humans. We must remember to respect wild animals and try to not interact with them as much as possible. The CPW recommends that Colorado residents keep their yards free of things such as sports nets, food bowls, or anything that could potentially harm wild animals.