Cougar killed after eating goats on Missouri Heights
MISSOURI HEIGHTS, Colorado ” A cougar was trapped and euthanized by state wildlife officers last week after the big cat raided a property in Missouri Heights, Colorado and ate a goat on four separate occasions.
Officers with the Colorado Division of Wildlife worked with the property owner to erect fencing to try to keep the cougar out after the initial attacks, but to no avail, according to agency spokesman Randy Hampton. Once the female mountain lion knew what was on the other side of the fence, she couldn’t be denied.
No information was available on the age of the mountain lion. The wildlife division didn’t disclose the identity of the property owner. Word had circulated among residents along and near Fender Lane about the mountain lion sightings before the cougar was trapped and killed Oct. 9.
Officers didn’t feel it was a viable option to relocate the animal.
“Once they get into a mode of killing livestock it’s virtually impossible to relocate them,” Hampton said. In such cases, the mountain lions show a tendency to continue killing livestock once they start, he said.
Residents of the Roaring Fork Valley are noticing an increase in human-cougar encounters (and not just in the bars in Aspen). A mountain lion was shot and killed by a man who was walking with his wife north of New Castle last summer. They said the mountain lion stalked them.
Sightings and reports of mountain lion activity are up throughout western Colorado, according to Hampton. Biologists with the wildlife division don’t believe there is any ecological trigger to the increased activity. Problems with black bears, for example, increase with failures of natural food crops. One explanation may simply be increased human encroachment into mountain lion habitat.
Mountain lions are generally nocturnal animals that stick to themselves. “They don’t want to hang around with you any more than you want to hang around with them,” Hampton said.
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