Posts Tagged ‘Cougars’

Here kitty kitty…

September 29, 2011

Perhaps I should simply start a new page, or at least category about living in areas where wildlife are abundant. In any case we all need to remember that many wild creatures can, and will put a significant dent into a human body in certain situations.

Most of the time these attacks by wildlife are instinctual, as in the animal is simply trying to escape, protecting their young, or getting some chow. The people that are involved are usually those that are simply stuck on stupid. Be that feeding Coyotes, bears, etcetera. Then, there are those that defy reality, as in thinking that Grizzly Bears are cute, cuddly, and no threat whatsoever to humans. Think again folks! Even deer stomp the heck out of people every year.Read on…

CARBONDALE, Colo. – A mountain lion attacked and killed a pet dog at a ski area outside of Carbondale, prompting Colorado Parks and Wildlife to remind all residents in the state to take precautions in areas where conflicts with wildlife are possible.

A resident living near the Sunlight Ski Resort told a wildlife officer that an attack happened when she let her dogs walk outside at approximately 10 p.m., Wednesday. She ran out to her deck after hearing distressed barking, and watched as a mountain lion ran off with her 14 year-old poodle/shih tzu mix in its mouth.

“As troubling as the incident may seem, residents in this area need to remember that they live in mountain lion country and this can happen anytime,” said Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will. “Lions are opportunistic predators, so we caution people to keep a close eye on their dogs, cats or other domesticated animals.”

Wildlife managers take human safety or loss of livestock into consideration when deciding whether to relocate or lethally manage a predator. However, they do not typically kill a lion that preys on an unsupervised pet.

“It does not appear to be a threat to people right now, but we will continue to monitor the situation, and we will take action if it becomes aggressive towards humans,” said Will.

Although mountain lions are typically reclusive and avoid humans, people occasionally encounter the big cats in areas where there is an abundance of their natural prey, such as mule deer, or other smaller species such as raccoons, skunks, porcupines and other similar wildlife.

Wildlife officers also received a report of another mountain lion inside the city limits of nearby Carbondale on Thursday, the day after the attack on the dog.

Sightings of mountain lions within Carbondale city limits may be uncommon, said District Wildlife Manager John Groves, but they are not completely unexpected. Groves said it appeared the lion was no longer within city limits and had likely moved on.

“People should remember that we are in an area where lions exist in significant numbers, and a sighting can happen anytime,” he said. “However, we do ask the public to let us know quickly if they see a lion in an area where they are not normally seen.”

As mountain lion populations have rebounded in recent decades, the number of sightings and close encounters in Colorado has increased. Fatalities, such as the death of an Idaho Springs jogger in 1991, and attacks, remain exceedingly rare.

“Mountain lions are opportunistic predators and are certainly powerful enough to kill a human, but they typically choose their natural, four-legged prey, and tend to avoid anything on two legs,” said Watchable Wildlife Coordinator Trina Romero.

However, Romero warned that people should not ignore a possible threat from a lion, and should follow a few basic tips to help reduce the possibility of an encounter, or attack.

“Try to avoid walking your pet at night,” she said. “Lions have excellent eyesight and can see you clearly in the dark, but a human needs light to see, and walking during daylight hours allows you to see a potential threat.”

Romero also advised people to fight back strenuously if attacked.

“A lion will retreat if you are able to injure or hurt it during an attack, so don’t run from it, but do fight back if attacked,” she said.

Wildlife managers also recommend the following tips:

– When you walk or hike in mountain lion country, go in groups and make plenty of noise to reduce your chances of surprising a lion. A sturdy walking stick is a good idea; it can be used to ward off a lion. Make sure children are close to you and within your sight at all times. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.

– Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.

– Stay calm when you come upon a lion. Talk calmly yet firmly to it. Move slowly.

– Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.

– Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you’re wearing one. If you have small children with you, protect them by picking them up so they won’t panic and run.

– If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or any item you can quickly grab without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. What you want to do is convince the lion you are not prey and that you may in fact be a danger to the lion.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds everyone that as the human population of the state tops 5 million, there will likely be an increase in encounters. However, the public can avoid serious conflicts by following a few recommended suggestions that can help them live with wildlife responsibly.

To learn more about living with mountain lions, please visit: http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/LivingWithWildlife/Mammals/Pages/LionCountry1.aspx

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For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.

 

Living with wildlife Montana style: Or, another reason to love Mules!

February 21, 2010
Living with wildlife has become something of a hit here,and I was
sent these pictures. Seems a couple from Montana were out for a
ride along with their dogs, and a Cougar decided that it wanted a
doggy snack. The man dismounted and took out a rifle, his wife
took out a camera. The mule went on offense...


Just a note, this was in a very old email and I'm not sure who
to credit this too.
 

Attracting Mountain Lions

February 4, 2009

Living with wildlife is an ongoing theme anymore. While this article deals with Mountain Lions it applies to bears and other wildlife as well.

YOU MAY BE ATTRACTING MOUNTAIN LIONS TO YOUR PROPERTY WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING IT


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Colorado’s abundant wildlife is often cited by residents as one of the things they like best about living here. During the mid and late 20th century, Colorado’s growth brought people in closer contact with deer, elk and other wildlife species, to the delight of a new generation of wildlife watchers.

But one of these wild animals is the mountain lion, a powerful predator that while secretive by nature, has become increasingly visible in recent years.  And as some Coloradans have discovered, when mountain lions follow deer and other wildlife prey, it brings them into to people’s neighborhoods.

Although most people will never see a mountain lion in their lifetime, the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) says the number of reports of mountain lion sightings has been gradually increasing.

“Attacks on people are rare,” said Jerry Apker, a carnivore specialist with the Colorado Division of Wildlife. “But attacks on dogs and cats are becoming more common.”  DOW policy is very clear when it comes to lions that pose a threat to human safety.  They must be destroyed.

While a spate of lion sighting in some Front Range neighborhoods have generated headlines recently, DOW officials stress that these big cats can be found almost anywhere in the state where a suitable population of deer exists.

In the past year, the DOW destroyed or moved mountain lions from Durango, Canon City, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, Boulder, suburban Denver, and various other communities throughout the state.

In one case in the spring of 2008, a mountain lion was found hiding in a barn in eastern El Paso County about 50 miles east of the foothills.  DOW officers tranquilized the cat and moved it back to the mountains.  In another 2008 incident, a man walking along a rural road near New Castle was forced to shoot a lion that threatened the man and his wife. Several weeks after the first New Castle incident, a second lion in the area was killed by DOW officers after the lion killed a horse.

In July 2008, the DOW killed two lions in Durango.  Both were young females that wouldn’t leave people’s yards in town.  Their behavior was on the aggressive side so the DOW decided that killing the lions for safety reasons was the prudent choice.  In Cortez, a lion jumped from a tree toward a young man on a riding lawnmower.  The lion missed.  The DOW used dogs to tree that cat, and it was destroyed.

“Roughly 65 percent of Colorado is classified as good mountain lion habitat,” said Apker. “The only place mountain lions cannot live for an extended period of time is where there is no prey.”

There are a variety of reasons for increased mountain lion sighting.  One is that more humans live and recreate where mountain lions and their primary prey, mule deer, exist.  Other explanations could be related to changes in lion distribution and movement patterns, increasing populations, or the simple fact that people are more apt to report sightings.

The vast majority of sightings happen very quickly and end when the lion runs away.  But wildlife managers are concerned that more and more reports are coming from populated areas where mountain lions are finding plentiful food supplies.

DON’T FEED THE DEER

According to Apker, feeding deer and other wildlife draws prey animals into residential areas – which means mountain lions are likely to follow.  “Sometimes people become a little too anxious to see wildlife and attempt to bring animals closer by putting out food,” he said.

It is illegal to feed deer in Colorado, but sometimes people do it anyway because they are unaware of the problems it causes.  “Deer are more than capable of finding plenty of natural food to eat on their own,” Apker explained.  “Feeding deer congregates them in back yards and puts everyone in the neighborhood at risk because deer are one of the main food sources for mountain lions.  Mountain lions usually avoid people, but even with human activity nearby, mountain lions are more likely to stay in an area where deer congregate.”

When a lion kills a large animal like a deer, they consume part of the meat and conceal the rest by covering it with dirt or leaves.  They return again later to eat more.  As long as the meat does not spoil, the lion will remain in the vicinity until it is consumed.  That might be up to a week during the winter.

If you find a partially eaten carcass on your property, call your local DOW office and they will safely remove the carcass.  This will prompt the lion to leave the area.  In some cases, DOW officers use “negative conditioning” techniques to haze cats away from populated areas.  One method is shooting the lion with bean bags or rubber buckshot.  It sends a strong message to reinforce the cat’s natural instinct to avoid people.

One of the tools the DOW uses to manage cougar populations is controlled hunting.  Licensed hunters legally kill about 350 mountain lions a year.  Another 40 or so are killed each year by car accidents, or by state or federal wildlife officers responding to calls of lions taking pets or killing livestock.

PROTECTING PETS

Like most predators, mountain lions are opportunistic.  In addition to deer, mountain lions also eat raccoons, fox, rabbits, and other mammals.  They do not differentiate between domestic pets and livestock that also make easy prey.

Pets that are allowed to roam free are in danger of being killed by lions, but also by coyotes or foxes.  Pet owners with outside dogs are encouraged to install tops on kennels to prevent predators from jumping in.

Although it is a common belief that cougars are only found in the back country, mountain lions have been known to visit nearly every part of Colorado from time to time, including occasional sightings on the eastern plains.

“I talk to a lot of people who ask me why the Division of Wildlife doesn’t move all of the lions away from the where people live,” said Apker.  “Lions are destroyed if wildlife managers determine the cat is a threat to public safety, but it is impractical to try to move every mountain lion because as long as there is food to eat it is only a matter of time before another mountain lion will move in to fill the vacated territory.”

Male mountain lions are territorial.  Some individuals live in small territories where prey is plentiful.  Other lions are constantly on the move in territories that cover hundreds of miles.

The fate of moved lions is poorly understood.  There is reason to believe that some mountain lions die after they are moved.  They could be killed by other lions where they are released, may return, or die trying.  Colorado researchers are currently studying lion movements to learn more about the effectiveness of relocating them.

Mountain lions hunt day or night, but are most active during hours of darkness.   Males will travel as much as 25 miles a night in search of food.

Lions are generally solitary.  Offspring can be born during any time of the year and will stay with their mother for approximately one year before heading off on their own.


TIPS FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN MOUNTAIN LION COUNTRY:
DON’T FEED WILDLIFE: By feeding deer, raccoons or other wildlife in your yard, you may inadvertently attract mountain lions, which prey upon them.
LANDSCAPE FOR SAFETY: Remove dense and/or low-lying vegetation that provides good hiding places for mountain lions, especially around children’s play areas.  Make it difficult for mountain lions to approach a yard unseen.
INSTALL OUTDOOR LIGHTING: Keep the house perimeter well lit at night – especially along walkways – to keep any approaching mountain lions visible.
KEEP PETS SECURE: Roaming pets are easy prey for hungry mountain lions. Outside kennels should have a secure top.  Do not leave pet food outside; this can attract foxes, raccoons, rodents, and other mountain lion prey.
KEEP LIVESTOCK SECURE: Where practical, place livestock in enclosed sheds and barns at night, and be sure to secure all outbuildings.
KEEP CHILDREN SAFE: Keep a close watch on children whenever they play outdoors. Talk with children about mountain lions and teach them what to do if they encounter one.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ENCOUNTER A MOUNTAIN LION:
DO NOT APPROACH A LION: Most mountain lions try to avoid people.  Human encounters are generally brief.  Give them a way to escape.  Mountain lions become aggressive if they feel they are cornered.
DO NOT RUN FROM A LION: Running may stimulate a mountain lion’s instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal. Make eye contact. If there are small children, pick them up if possible so they don’t panic and run. Although it may be awkward, pick them up without bending over or turning away from the mountain lion.
STAND TALL AND APPEAR LARGE: Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you are wearing one. Again, pick up small children. Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice. The idea is to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to it.
FIGHT BACK IF ATTACKED: Many potential victims have fought back successfully with rocks, sticks, binoculars, garden tools and their bare hands. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal.
DO NOT HIKE ALONE: Go in groups, with adults supervising children.
KEEP CHILDREN CLOSE TO YOU: Observations of captive mountain lions reveal that they seem especially drawn to children because they are lower to the ground.  Keep children within your sight at all times.

To learn more about mountain lions, contact your nearest DOW office or www.colorado.gov/wildlife.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.


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