Mountain lion spotted in Superior

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A MOUNTAIN LION, similar to the cat pictured above, was spotted near Eva Horning Park, the high school and the area of 4th Avenue. (Photo courtesy of FWP)

There have been numerous reports of a mountain lion in Superior over the past few weeks. It has been seen at night near Eva Horning Park. the high school and in the area of 4th Avenue. The Mineral County Sheriff’s Office and the local game warden had been notified. However, the warden, Alex Mattson, said he had only received one call.

He said if people see the cat they should notify authorities immediately. At this point, they have not seen tracks, photos or any fresh kill piles. Oftentimes, young males are run off from their range by older more mature male lions. As a result, they may just pass through an area like Superior in search of a new range.

If the cat does stay around the area, kill domestic animals or stalks people, especially children, a more aggressive approach will be taken he said. At this point he recommends people keep their pets indoors and keep a watchful eye on their children when outside.

MATTSON ALSO warned against feeding deer which will attract lions since that is their primary food source. If people see the cat or signs of it they can call the sheriff’s office, Mattson’s direct number at 406-274-1663 or 100-TipMont.

Though confrontations with mountain lions seems to have increased, officials with Fish and Game are uncertain as to whether their populations have increased. Wildlife Biologist Zack Lockyer with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said in a recent interview that several factors could be contributing to that perception. Including more people recreating in the outdoors, a younger population of mountain cats with more nomadic tendencies, the cougar’s prey animals such as deer, traveling into human populated areas, or simply more public spotlight on encounters with the lions.

IN THE past 100 years, approximately 25 people have been killed by mountain lions with 95 injuries. However, according to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, more mountain lion attacks on people have been reported in the American West and Canada over the past 20 years than in the previous 80 years.

Though there is no way to completely guarantee safety from a mountain lion attack, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks authorities suggest that people not hike alone and keep children close-by. Also, keep pets on a leash and hike with bear pepper spray.

If there is an encounter with a lion, do not approach it. Lions will try to avoid a confrontation and always give them a way to escape. Also, do not run from one, rather stand and face it. Make eye contact and do not turn your back. Also, pick up children and don’t let them run. Do this without bending over or turning away. This is because a person crouching or bending looks like a four-legged prey animal.

Appear larger by raising your arms or open your jacket. Wave arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice. Throwing stones or branches will also help to scare a mountain lion away. Montana law allows people to kill a mountain lion in defense. If a lion is killed, report it to FWP within 72 hours.

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