Fish and Game Conservation Officers received a report early Friday morning, April 24, of a mountain lion on a homeowner’s porch east of Kimberly. This was the second report of a mountain lion in the Kimberly area in two days. Before the officers’ arrival, the homeowner made repeated unsuccessful attempts to haze the mountain lion away from the house. The homeowner reported that the lion showed no fear despite him yelling repeatedly at the lion, and at one point the lion hissed and took an aggressive posture towards the homeowner.
Once on scene, the two Conservation Officers observed the male lion exhibiting no fear of humans. The lion stood its ground, and did not make any attempt to flee the area, which is not typical mountain lion behavior.
“We arrived on scene with the expectation of hazing the lion since it was in a rural area, and very near mountain lion habitat in the South Hills, south of Kimberly,” according to Regional Conservation Officer Josh Royse, “but what we found was a lion that was not exhibiting normal lion behavior, by not attempting to run away when approached. This behavior is very concerning because it has the potential of bringing people and lions into close proximity to each other, and causes concern for human safety. In the interest of public safety for local residents, the decision was made to euthanize the lion.”
While it cannot be verified, it is thought that this is the same lion that was seen in Kimberly the previous day, on the morning of April 23. That lion sighting happened about 6:45 a.m. in the heart of Kimberly, when the lion was observed on the porch of a home. Fish and Game officers, in cooperation with the Kimberly Police Department searched the community throughout the morning but could not find the lion.
More information about mountain lions
Idaho has an abundant and sustainable mountain lion population, but when lions attack pets, come too close people, or settle in or near communities and homes, it creates a potential public safety hazard. Fish and Game officials are unwilling to take that risk and let mountain lions remain in towns or near residences.
Idaho has never had a recorded incident of a mountain lion killing a person, but two human fatalities by mountain lions occurred in Oregon and Washington in 2018, along with numerous other incidents involving mountain lions in Idaho in recent years.
Mountain lion incidents in Idaho
An adult male mountain lion attacked and partially consumed a domestic dog on Jan. 3 at a residence a few miles south of Cascade. The lion was later tracked and killed by a hunter. This was within days of the incident on Callendar Road on Dec. 31, but it was unclear whether the two attacks were carried out by the same lion.
- A mountain lion attacked a dog in Mackay and the dog’s owner had to separate the two animals.
- Mountain lion killed a dog in a Ketchum backyard and was later tracked into an adjacent yard and killed by F&G officers.
- 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.
- A mountain lion attacked a dog in its fenced backyard in Ketchum, the dog survived but later had to be euthanized. Fish and Game officers were also notified of a second dog killed by a mountain within blocks of the first incident. With assistance from a tracking hound, officers located the lion hiding under a deck across the street from the attack and dispatched it.
- A local homeowner near Ketchum let his dog outside in an unfenced area when a chance encounter with a mountain lion on the porch occurred. The dog sustained injuries, but the owner was able to drive off the lion, which fled the area.
- A lion killed a dog in Gimlet, south of Ketchum, while it was in a fenced backyard.
- A lion attacked and injured a dog in its backyard near Hailey.
- A dog was attacked and killed by a lion along Callendar Road east of Highway 55 and south of Cascade. The lion or lions responsible for that attack were never found. The event occurred within days of a Jan. 3, 2020 incident involving another dog attack and it is unclear whether the two attacks were carried out by the same lion.
More about mountain lions and what to do if you encounter one
By nature, mountain lions are shy and will make every effort to avoid contact with humans. But, if a person finds themselves 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!
Residents are encouraged to report any sightings of mountain lions to the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359, during normal business hours of Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Any incidents where a person must take action to cause the lion to flee or back down, or any attacks by mountain lions on pets or people should be reported immediately to the Magic Valley Regional Office or local law enforcement by calling 911.