Over the past several weeks a reported large mountain lion has been seen within residential neighborhoods in Hailey. The reports received by the Fish and Game, Magic Valley Regional Office all provide similar observations about the size of the lion.
Domestic cats reported missing
Hailey residents have noted missing domestic cats, with two recent reports documenting lion predation on domestic cats. No dogs or domestic livestock have been reported as injured, missing or taken. Because of a pattern of frequent visits to a residential neighborhood resulting in predation on domestic animals Fish and Game officers will deploy a trap in an effort to remove the mountain lion from within the city.
Fish and Game biologists are concerned that this particular lion is becoming habituated to living within the community, which presents concerns for resident and pet safety. Residents are strongly encourage to be aware of their surroundings, especially during morning and evening hours. Pets should always be on leash whether they are being walked in town or in the surrounding mountains.
Residents should check the area surrounding their homes and outbuildings to ensure that there are no areas where a lion could hide or daybed. Shed doors should be closed and secured and areas under decks should be closed off to not allow an animal, like a mountain lion, to seek shelter under a deck.
Residential garbage should be secured to keep all wildlife from having access to food items. While mountain lions do not typically eat residential garbage, unsecured garbage can attract other animals like skunks, raccoons and feral and outdoor cats, all of which are a potential prey species of mountain lions.
“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 to encourage mountain lions to live in wild habitats, outside of our communities.”
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.
- SLOWLY back away while maintaining eye contact with the lion.
- Safety equipment you may choose to carry could include bear spray, a noise device, like an air-horn, and if you walk in the dark, a very bright flashlight.
- If you are attacked, fight back!
For more information about wildlife safety, visit the Wood River Valley Wildlife Smart Communities website.
Other mountain lion updates
Recently an adult lion was found dead in Hop Porter Park in Hailey that showed signs of malnutrition when examined by local conservation officers. A young abandoned mountain lion kitten in poor condition was recently euthanized near Bellevue. The kitten has been sent to the Fish and Game wildlife lab for testing. The rumors of possible feline distemper have not been confirmed in these incidences.
For more information or to report a mountain lion sighting in your community contact the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359.