The influx of mountain lion sightings in Eagle County, Colorado have spurred wildlife officials to remind the public to be cautious.
There have been at least three sightings and reports of mountain lions in Eagle County, Colorado in the past week. Although there has only been three serious altercations with mountain lions since 1990, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding residents to be vigilant, especially with children and pets.
"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."
On Monday, a man and his dog came face to face with a mountain lion near Buffehr Creek Road, north of Interstate 70; while less than a mile away another woman claimed her dog was missing, with evidence of a predator. Two dogs were also killed in Vail and Red Cliff. On Thursday, a county-wide alert was issued to warn people of a mountain lion or lions in the area.
Colorado Park and Wildlife officials want to remind the public that these animals are large and can be quite dangerous when provoked. They also want to stress that feeding wildlife is harmful to any species, as they become accustomed to human interference.
"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. "
"Learning how to coexist with wildlife is a significant part of living in Colorado, but that does not include feeding them. 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."
For more information about mountain lions in Colorado, visit www.cpw.state.co.us.