An extensive search for a mountain lion apparently taking up residence along the Boise River Greenbelt was unsuccessful as officials using scent dogs were unable to locate the cat.
Idaho Fish and Game employees and two teams of volunteer houndsmen with trained scent dogs, searched the Boise River from Les Bois Park to Eagle Road between 4 and 8 a.m. Friday morning. The Ada County Sheriff's Office and Garden City Police provided support.
"We had two teams of officers and houndsmen with dogs working both sides of the river," Fish and Game conservation educator Evin Oneale said. "Apparently, the cat was not in the area being searched; the dogs were unable to detect any scent."
While mountain lions routinely pass through the Treasure Valley, a lion choosing to live in close proximity to people and pets poses a significant threat to both.
To eliminate that threat, the next step involves setting traps along the stretch of river where the cat has been seen several times in the last few weeks.
"We are working with personnel from USDA Wildlife Services, who will be setting fewer than 10 traps in a localized area," Oneale said. "These traps will be on private land along the river and checked at least twice daily."
Greenbelt areas adjacent to the trapping location will be clearly marked with signs, but it will be important for pet owners to keep their pets leashed while walking the greenbelt as is already required by law.
The trapping effort does not mean the search for the lion is over. Fish and Game personnel and law enforcement officials will continue to search for the lion and are asking for the public's help.
"Please report any mountain lion sightings immediately to Fish and Game or local law enforcement," Oneale said. "Chances of catching up to this lion are much improved if the sighting is reported promptly."