Mountain lion enters lodges in Vail before being euthanized
Vail police responded to two separate instances of a single mountain lion observed in and near several resort properties
A few Lionshead lodges had an unusual guest on Saturday: a mountain lion.
Anna Holguin, a front desk agent at the Antlers at Vail, first heard about a mountain lion sighting from a guest when she was opening up the front desk at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning.
“The guest said that he saw a mountain lion ‘in the back’ and I thought he meant behind the building way down by Gore Creek,” Holguin said.
Later that morning, Holquin said one of the housekeepers saw the mountain lion on the first floor.
“Our first floor has open-air access to the outside and that’s how it got in,” Holquin said.
She then started making phone calls to the maintenance department and called the police.
“We also called everyone on the first floor and told them not to go outside because all of our first floor units have outdoor access and we wanted to alert them to the situation,” she said.
Security camera footage shows that the mountain lion had been in a corner of the property since around 2 a.m. Saturday morning. One of the guests was taking her dog out around 8:30 a.m. and the mountain lion saw them and finally realized that was the way out — the same way it came in.
Holguin said once the Vail Police Department got there, they followed the mountain lion’s tracks.
Later Saturday morning, Jeremy Follett, assistant general manager at the Vail Spa Condominiums, answered a call at the front desk from a homeowner that was wondering why police officers were around the building with what looked like a large gun.
The Vail Police Department had consulted the Colorado Parks and Wildlife prior to arriving in Lionshead and CPW recommended that the VPD bring a pepper ball gun, which looks like a paintball gun.
“While I was on the phone with the homeowner, in walked a mountain lion, through the automatic doors, straight through the lobby and down the hallway, with the police following shortly afterwards,” Follett said.
The mountain lion ended up in a hallway. The police and management were able to secure the area in order to keep the mountain lion away from guests and try to keep it calm while the Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers were en route.
According to a release from the Vail Police Department, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers responded and were able to successfully dart and immobilize the mountain lion.
“Unfortunately, officers discovered the mountain lion was severely emaciated and in poor condition, which likely contributed to its desire to be in close proximity to humans. As a result the animal was euthanized,” the release said.
The Vail Police Department also said in the release that this type of behavior from a mountain lion is unusual.
“While mountain lions are native to Eagle County, they are typically elusive and sightings are rare,” the release said.
Wild animals do find their way into public places. But Follett said he’s never seen anything like this.
“In my 17 years of being here, I’ve seen bears up in Beaver Creek quite a bit, but never a mountain lion.”
Holguin said they’ve had encounters with bears, too. “We had a bear cub in our parking garage, going through the garbage, but eventually it found its way out.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife provides information on living with wildlife at this website: cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlife.aspx