Lion done menacing Aspen trail? |

Lion done menacing Aspen trail?

Carolyn Sackariason
Aspen Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Paul Conrad/The Aspen TimesLisa Kantor jogs near where a mountain lion was spotted earlier this year along the Rio Grande Trail near Aspen.

ASPEN, Colorado ” A mountain lion that was spotted along a popular trail has apparently left the area.

A sign warning hikers of the big cat was posted in March by the Colorado Division of Wildlife near the Slaughterhouse Bridge at the junction of McLain Flats Road and Cemetery Lane. It has been removed.

“In all likelihood, [the mountain lion] has moved on,” said Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton, adding there have been no reports of sightings in the past week or two. “The deer and elk are moving, so it’s probably following them.

“It’s at least out of that area and in another location, as it follows that prey base.”

The sign essentially warned hikers, joggers and others on the trail that there could be a large predator in the area and to keep children close and pets on a leash.

In mid-March, several people reported seeing a mountain lion along McLain Flats Road, and a lot of animal carcasses were seen along the trail.

Aspen is prime mountain lion habitat, and there probably are mountain lions in the area at all times.

Wildlife experts say mountain lion populations around parts of the Western Slope have slowly increased over the past couple of decades, as ranching and other traditionally rural ways of life have given way to increased urbanization. In the past, ranchers and others hunted mountain lions to prevent them from raiding flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, the experts say.

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