Reports of mountain lions in the Wood River Valley continue to come in, almost daily, to Fish and Game. Most reports are about lions moving through neighborhoods or sightings of lions in yards. We also receive reports of cats recorded on security cameras. Since December 14, these reports have also included reports of five attacks on dogs, three fatal, in the Valley.
Understandably, residents and visitors are concerned.
Fish and Game managers share this concern, and are actively working to understand the current situation, and to provide safety tips and suggestions to those who live close to lions.
When living close to wildlife, no matter the species, residents and visitors need to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings.
Elk and deer populations are healthy in the Wood River Valley. Most like to see these animals where we live and as we recreate in the area. These abundant herds bring unintended consequences since they are also the natural prey base for mountain lions.
Mountain lions have been living in the Wood River Valley long before human development began. Most residents, even those who have lived there for years, have never observed one. However, we are hearing from residents that they are now seeing these secretive cats as they pass through their neighborhoods. Some reports include sightings of lions during daylight hours, which is not typical behavior.
Wildlife managers agree that if a person is in close proximity to a lion, meaning they see it, they should:
- NEVER run away from a mountain lion. The lion’s instinct is to chase and ultimately catch what they perceive as a potential prey.
- NEVER turn your back on a lion. Always face them while making yourself look as large as you can. Yell loudly, but don’t scream. A high-pitched scream may mimic the sound of a wounded animal.