PARK CITY, Utah — Earlier this week, the Park City Police Department received a report about a mountain lion hanging out in the middle of a Deer Valley neighborhood.
The large cat was in a resident’s backyard where their grandkids were playing.
After trying to scare away the animal with the sound of pots and pans, officials at the scene said the cat was exhibiting aggressive behavior.
According to Scott Root, conversation outreach officer for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) in Summit County, the cougar lunged at one of the Park City officers and started to follow him to this vehicle.
At that point, Root said they “established that isn’t a shy mountain lion in any way, shape, or form.”
“Because it had habituated into this community, we knew we probably need to get this mountain lion euthanized,” he said.
The lion was killed with a shotgun slug, which is in line with DWR policy. Root said the process was the safest option given it occurred at night in the dark.
“We want the public to know that we don’t like to [euthanize],” Root said. “We know people don’t like that, and we definitely feel the same way. It’s not something we like to do.”
“Most of the time we’re able to successfully tranquilize and relocate, but because this lion had acted aggressively, didn’t show fear of humans, and habituated to this area — that was a fairly easy decision to make as far as we needed to remove it.”
If you encounter a mountain lion, there are several things you should do.
IF YOU ENCOUNTER A COUGAR
- Stop. Never run from a cougar. Do not approach the cougar.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Pick up children and pets or keep them very close.
- Stand up tall.
- Do not crouch or squat.
- Make yourself look bigger by raising and waving your arms or jacket above your head.
- Talk firmly in a loud voice, back away slowly, and leave the area.
- Fight back if you are attacked! Protect your head and neck.
- If you are aggressive enough the cougar will probably flee.
PREVENTING CONFLICTS WHILE RECREATING
- Do not hike or jog alone.
- Travel in groups and keep everyone together, including children and dogs.
- Make noise while hiking to alert cougars of your presence.
- Leave the area if you find a dead animal, especially deer or elk, because it could be a cougar kill. The cougar may return to the cache site and defend its food.
- Keep a clean camp. Store food and garbage in an odor-free, locked container or hung between two trees where cougars (and bears) cannot get it.
HOW TO PREVENT INCIDENTS WITH COUGARS
Remove wildlife attractants from your property, including pet food, water sources, bird feeders, and fallen fruit. If your property and landscaping are attractive to deer and other wildlife, cougars may follow the wildlife into your property while searching for prey.
- Do not leave children outside unattended, especially at dawn and dusk.
- As a deterrent, install outside and motion-sensitive lighting around your property.
- Trim vegetation and remove wood piles to reduce hiding places for wildlife.
- Bring pets and livestock inside at night or secure them in a barn or kennel with a top.
- Provide secure shelter for hobby farm animals such as poultry, rabbits, and goats.
You can learn more here.