Idaho Fish and Game officers investigated a report of three mountain lions found under a deck at a residence in Kendrick on Sat., Dec. 17. To protect public safety, officers trapped and euthanized the three young mountain lions. “We made the decision to euthanize because lions habituated in an urban setting pose a public safety risk,” said Fish and Game’s Clearwater Region Supervisor JJ Teare.
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. These lions were young of the year, and were seeking shelter/food wherever they could find it.
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 and killing livestock and pets. Fish and Game officials are unwilling to take that risk considering there’s an abundant mountain lion population in North Central Idaho and throughout the state.
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. Contact the Clearwater Regional office for more information (208) 799-5010. To report a mountain lion sighting on or near your property, call the regional office or your local law enforcement office.