This winter, Fish and Game started receiving more frequent mountain lion reports throughout the Wood River Valley starting in early December. Cached prey from lion kills has been found in locations north of Hailey, and residents are reporting tracks around their homes from Bellevue to Ketchum.
A large male mountain lion with a cached elk carcass in Ketchum
Residents are urged to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings, especially during early morning and evening hours when mountain lions are typically more active.
Public safety is always a priority
Mountain lions are common throughout Idaho. While lions are seen throughout the year, observations and incidents do tend to increase during the winter months due to fresh snow making their tracks more visible, along with increased numbers of deer and elk moving onto their winter ranges, which are often in close proximity to local communities.
“We continue to encourage residents to notify our office if they observe a lion or see tracks around their homes, or if they come across cached prey” stated Regional Conservation Officer Clint Rogers, “our officers are always willing to work with local residents to make sure that they and their pets stay safe. Our goal is not to remove predators like mountain lions from the landscape, but instead to encourage them to continue to live in natural habitats, outside of our communities. Fish and Game will try to haze a lion if possible, only resorting to lethal removal if an individual has become aggressive when living among people and is determined to be a threat to public safety.”
A female mountain lion near a cached elk south of Ketchum
Even with this number of reported sightings and encounters there have been no reported attacks on people. However, pets and livestock have been killed or injured by mountain lions over the past several months with many reports of pets disappearing from their homes, presumably from lion predation.
New website provides tips to reduce human-wildlife conflicts
Prompted by concerns for public safety after increasing cases of human-wildlife conflict in the Wood River Valley, a group of Blaine County partners came together to cooperatively work towards a Valley-wide goal of reducing negative interactions between humans and wildlife. A significant accomplishment from the group is a new website, www.wrvwildlifesmart.org that provides information the public can use to live and recreate safely around Idaho wildlife.
Reporting attacks, encounters or sightings
Common terminology is a critical piece of the puzzle when providing much needed information to Fish and Game. When reporting, the public is encouraged to use these common terms to describe a specific situation:
- Sighting – reported observation
- Encounter – unexpected and direct meeting between wildlife and humans without incident
- Incident – Interaction between a person and wildlife in which the person must take action to cause the wildlife to flee, back down, or otherwise allow the person to leave
- Attack – a human is injured or killed by wildlife
Residents across the Magic Valley should immediately report any wildlife incident or attack to the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359 during business hours, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday, or to your local law enforcement agency. Mountain lion sightings and encounters should be reported to Fish and Game during regular business hours by calling the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359.