Idaho Fish and Game officials on Saturday, Jan. 26 dispatched a mountain lion that was spotted in a Ketchum subdivision after killing a dog. The six to seven-year-old, non-lactating female cat was tracked to a nearby area and dispatched for public safety.
“We euthanized the lion safely, quickly and humanely, in accordance with our protocol for lions that show habituation to humans or pets in residential areas,” Fish and Game’s Magic Valley Region Supervisor Craig White said.
A Fish and Game conservation officer in the Wood River Valley initially received a report from a Ketchum woman that a mountain lion was in her backyard. At around the same time, the woman’s neighbor notified her that his dog was missing.
The neighbor then saw the dog lying dead under a tree with the mountain lion next to it, and the woman called Fish and Game again and reported the mountain lion had killed her neighbor’s dog.
Fish and Game requested assistance from the Ketchum Police Department, who were first to respond to the scene. A Fish and Game officer arrived shortly after and evaluated the incident site, determining that the mountain lion had killed and consumed part of the dog.
With the assistance of the Ketchum Police Department, the conservation officer tracked the mountain lion to the yard next door, within 200 feet of the incident, where they were able to safely dispatch the cat.
Fish and Game officials recently received multiple reports of mountain lion activity in the same area that the lion was killed near where Warm Springs Creek meets the Big Wood River. It is unknown whether it was the same cat.
The incident comes in the midst of increased mountain lion sightings across Blaine County and the Big Wood Valley, from the Ketchum/Warm Springs Creek area to Bellevue.
In mid January, there was a separate mountain lion incident in Bellevue, where a dog was attacked and ultimately died from its injuries. Attempts to locate and trap that lion were unsuccessful.
Also in January, a young, female mountain lion was killed by police in Lava Hot Springs after it was reported wandering through town and showing little fear of humans. The lion was malnourished and appeared blind in one eye.
“We want to remind people who have wintering deer and elk nearby that there is likely going to be mountain lions nearby, too,” White said. “People also need to take precautions, be aware of their surroundings, and not leave their pets outside and unattended.”
Idaho has an abundant and sustainable mountain lion population, but when lions become too comfortable near people, it creates a potential public safety hazard. Fish and Game officials are unwilling to take that risk and let them wander freely in towns. Idaho has never had a recorded incident of a mountain lion killing a person.
Two human fatalities by mountain lions occurred in Oregon and Washington in 2018, along with numerous other incidents of mountain lions encroaching in populated areas in Idaho.
Mountain lion incidents in 2018
Lion found in schoolyard in Southwest Idaho (killed)
Two mountain bikers in Washington attacked by a lion, one killed and the other injured.
Lion killed in chicken coop in Hayden.
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)
Mountain lion captured from a tree in Coeur d’Alene near the Kootenai Medical Center. The cat was euthanized by Fish and Game staff to protect public safety.
Tips for people who might encounter a mountain lion
- Do not run.
- If you are with children, pick them up without bending over.
- Do not turn your back on the lion, crouch down, or try to hide.
- Remain facing the lion and slowly back away. Leave the animal an escape route.
- Try to appear as large as possible — stand on a rock or stump, hold up your arms, stand next to others.
- Shout, wave your arms, and throw objects if the lion does not leave the area.
- 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.
- 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.
Here is more information about dealing with mountain lions, including how to avoid attracting them to your property.