Telluride: Lion dies at record age of 23 |

Telluride: Lion dies at record age of 23

Allen BestVail, CO Colorado

TELLURIDE, Colorado Ruby, the pet mountain lion of Melissa Margetts for the last 23 years, is no more. The aging cat was put to sleep in early April as she purred in the lap of Margetts, her companion and caregiver.Although mountain lions also called cougars or pumas have a life expectancy of 7 to 11 years, this cat set a world record for longevity, which Margetts, writing in The Telluride Watch, attributed to lot of lovin and all the room service shes gotten. That room service included road kill part of the 30 pounds of raw meat she ate per day capped off by a cone of vanilla Haagen-Dazs ice cream.Margetts says she got Ruby when the cat was 10 days old and weighed only one pound. It had been confiscated from a fur farm in Iowa.The cats weight of 175 pounds had dropped to 100 in recent months, its once knife-sharp canines worn down to nubs and the incisors entirely absent. Though her eyes are still bright, they gloss over every now and then and betray her fright as she is becoming less aware of where she is. Kitty dementia and Alzheimers have now tipped the scale, and she is having more bad days than good, Margetts wrote in a story as she considered putting her pal to sleep.When that appointed day arrived, Margetts had second thoughts. In an Internet posting, she reported that the lion seemed to be having a resurgence of strength. Still, the deed was done. She says her 23 years with the cat are more than those she spent with her parents (16), her son (18), or her former husband (10).

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. Teton County commissioners have mandated steps to reduce conflicts between humans and bears. The commissioners are requiring bear-resistant garbage containers or, in lieu of such containers, that trash be kept in bear-proof enclosures.Also, for about seven months of the year, bird feeders must be at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet away from any structure. The regulations apply to only those areas of the county where there have been conflicts, notes the Jackson Hole News&Guide. The legislation was described by one county commissioner, Ben Ellis, as a mild step.The mountain resort communities that seem to be in the lead on this issue are Vail and Snowmass/Aspen. There, bear-resistant trash containers were deemed insufficient to thwart determined and reasonably intelligent bears. Instead, more challenging, so-called bear-proof devices are now required.

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