Mountain lion activity rising in Eagle County | VailDaily.com

Mountain lion activity rising in Eagle County

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Sightings of mountain lions, such as this one seen recently in Edwards, are on the rise in Eagle County, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. However, attacks on humans are rare, and officials are reminding residents not to feed wildlife and to educate themselves about the animals.

EAGLE COUNTY — After receiving several reports of mountain lions this week, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are reminding residents to supervise pets and children.

On Monday, a man told wildlife officials that his dog came nose to nose with a mountain lion near Buffehr Creek Road, north of Interstate 70. The dog was not injured. Less than a mile away, a woman's dog was reported missing with evidence of a predator. On Thursday, an Eagle County Alert was sent out to residents of Singletree in Edwards to let them know a mountain lion was seen in the area.

"We have lions in the area, and in fact, they have been here for quite some time with very few incidents," said Bill Andree, district wildlife manager. "Although I can say that we definitely have more lions today, we also have more people and pets here as well, so that's likely one of the reasons for increased sighting and interactions."

Despite the recent influx of sightings and interactions, Andree stresses that lion attacks remain rare in the state. Since 1990, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife has reported three incidents resulting in human fatality.

“We have lions in the area, and in fact, they have been here for quite some time with very few incidents. Although I can say that we definitely have more lions today, we also have more people and pets here as well, so that’s likely one of the reasons for increased sighting and interactions.”Bill AndreeDistrict wildlife manager

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DON'T FEED WILDLIFE

However, since the animals are powerful predators, officials remind residents to be vigilant at all times and become educated about mountain lions.

"Keep in mind that a typical female lion weighs about 80 to 100 pounds and they do not hunt humans — they are after four-legged prey," Andree said. "That's an important perspective for people to keep in mind, but we do advise that although the chances are slim, a lion conflict is always possible."

In addition to this week's interactions, there have also been two dogs killed by mountain lions in Red Cliff and one dog in Vail, as well as numerous other sightings around the county.

"Learning how to coexist with wildlife is a significant part of living in Colorado, but that does not include feeding them," Andree said. "That is an extremely important point for people to remember and we take it seriously. We will issue citations in cases where people are feeding wildlife."

Colorado Parks and Wildlife's goal is to maintain healthy populations in accordance with available habitat, social preferences and other considerations, Andree said.

For more information about mountain lions, visit http://www.cpw.state.co.us.

Common Theme:

Bill Andree, of the Colorado Parks & Wildlife, said that each location where a mountain lion conflict has been reported, a common theme is the presence of red fox. Deer, coyotes, raccoons and fox are all natural prey for mountain lions. It is important that residents don’t feed wildlife and keep trash secured, Andree said.