Mountain lion reported near Gypsum Creek Golf Club on Friday |

Mountain lion reported near Gypsum Creek Golf Club on Friday

Vail Daily staff report

A reported mountain lion sighting near the Gypsum Creek Golf Club on Friday prompted an alert from authorities urging people in the area to use caution and report any additional sightings to local law enforcement agencies.

The Eagle County alert was sent at 12:09 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13.

Mountain lion sightings are relatively rare, even for those who live in mountain communities. That said, mountain lions are active year-round in Eagle County, and sightings increase when the lions’ prey migrate into more human-populated areas.

“They follow their prey species, so when the deer move closer to developed areas, so do the mountain lions,” Craig Wescoatt, of Colorado Parks and Wildife, told the Vail Daily earlier this year after homeowners in Gypsum’s Willowstone neighborhood spotted a lion on images from their backyard game camera. “Raccoons and fox are also edible items to mountain lions.”

Mountain lions will also occasionally attack pets. In January 2016, a mountain lion killed a 2-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel outside a home near Vail’s Lionshead Village. It was the second such killing in Eagle County in the span of one week.

When in mountain lion habitat, or if you see a mountain lion, Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers the following safety tips:

  • Go in groups when you walk or hike in mountain lion country, and make plenty of noise to reduce your chances of surprising a lion. A sturdy walking stick is a good idea; it can be used to ward off a lion. Make sure children are close to you and within your sight at all times. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.
  • Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
  • Stay calm when you come upon a lion. Talk calmly and firmly to it. Move slowly.
  • Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.
  • Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you’re wearing one. If you have small children with you, protect them by picking them up so they won’t panic and run.
  • If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. What you want to do is convince the lion you are not prey and that you may in fact be a danger to the lion.
  • Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools and their bare hands successfully. Remain standing or try to get back up!

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