Press Release

Mountain lion captured and euthanized in Coeur d'Alene

Trapping and relocating lion was deemed too risky

Idaho Fish and Game officials on Monday, Sept. 24 captured and euthanized a mountain lion that was found in a tree in Coeur d’Alene near the Kootenai Medical Center. The cat was euthanized to protect public safety after a rash of mountain lion incidents have occurred this year in Idaho and neighboring states. 

Mountain lions that become comfortable in an urban setting not only pose a public safety risk, it’s difficult and risky to relocate them. 

“We euthanized the lion first and foremost because lions habituated in an urban setting pose a public safety risk,” Fish and Game’s Panhandle Region Supervisor Chip Corsi said. 

With assistance from police officers and fire department personnel in Coeur d’Alene, the area where the cat was located was secured and the lion was immobilized with a sedative then taken away and euthanized. The carcass remains with Fish and Game so it can be examined. 

Mountain lions that become comfortable in an urban setting not only pose a public safety risk, it’s difficult and risky to relocate them. 

North Idaho’s mountain lion population is healthy, and they’re very territorial. One reason lions stray into towns and neighborhoods is they’re often pushed out of wildlands by dominant cats, typically mature males. The mountain lion was a 2-year old male likely seeking new territory to settle in.

A mountain lion released back into the wild is unlikely to fare well in another cat’s territory, and there’s a risk of it returning to populated or adjacent areas and potentially injuring or killing people, livestock or pets. Fish and Game officials are unwilling to take that risk considering there’s an abundant mountain lion population in North Idaho and throughout the state. 

Two human fatalities by mountain lions occurred in Oregon and Washington in 2018, along with numerous other incidents. Idaho has never had a recorded incident of a mountain lion killing a person. 

Mountain lion incidents in 2018

February 

  • Lion found in schoolyard in Southwest Idaho (killed)

May 

  • Two mountain bikers in Washington attacked by a lion, one killed and the other injured. 
  • Lion killed in chicken coop in Hayden. 

August

  • Lion shot in backyard near Best Avenue in Couer d’Alene by a resident. 
  • Hiker killed by lion in Oregon
  • Hunter attacked by lion in Utah (survived)

Tips for people who might encounter a mountain lion

  1. Do not run.
  2. If you are with children, pick them up without bending over.
  3. Do not turn your back on the lion, crouch down, or try to hide.
  4. Remain facing the lion and slowly back away. Leave the animal an escape route.
  5. Try to appear as large as possible — stand on a rock or stump, hold up your arms, stand next to others.
  6. Shout, wave your arms, and throw objects if the lion does not leave the area.
  7. Fight back if a mountain lion attacks. Stay on your feet and use sticks, rocks, backpack, hands to fight back. Use bear spray if you have it.
  8. Never approach a mountain lion or offer it food.

Here is more information about dealing with mountain lions, including how to avoid attracting them to your property. 

mountain lion
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Idaho Fish and Game