Living with Mountain Lions

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Mountain LionThe mountain lion is called by many names: puma, cougar, panther, mountain cat, catamount, or just lion. It has a large range extending from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes of South America. The mountain lion is the second largest cat in North America after the Jaguar and the largest in Colorado. While mountain lions are populous in foothills, canyons or mesa country, they will live any place there is adequate cover and ample prey. Summit County provides both.

In Colorado, population estimates range from 3,000 to 7,000 mountain lions. This simple fact is a surprise to many residents and visitors because sightings are rare. Most people will never encounter a mountain lion. Lion attacks on people are rare, with fewer than a dozen fatalities in North America in more than 100 years. They are primarily nocturnal and feed on deer, elk, moose, and bighorn sheep.

STAYING SAFE if you encounter a mountain lion:
Stay Calm when you come upon a lion. Talk calmly yet firmly to it and make enough eye contact so that it knows you have seen it. Slowly back away. Most lions will run away, but sometimes they stay and you need to completely leave the area.

Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.

Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Position yourself to appear bigger by getting up on a stump or a rock. Open your jacket if you’re wearing one. Stay upright and facing the lion.

Click HERE to read Living with Lions from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Click HERE for a Mountain Lion Safety video from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife.