If you’ve been keeping a close eye on the local news or local social media groups, you may have noticed a recent upsurge in the amount of stories about mountain lion sightings and even incidents recently, particularly in YS’s home of Erie. Mountain lions in a mountainous region doesn’t immediately strike as news-worthy, but it’s a fact that the animals rarely venture down this way, and certainly not with this amount of regularity. The question is, are they getting bolder? And if so, why?I
Just a few days before the time of writing, an English bulldog was mauled to death in an Erie backyard and, as reported by the Daily Camera, the police said that a mountain lion was the likely culprit.
“Police said people reported hearing what sounded like a mountain lion near Arapahoe Ridge on Friday in Erie along 111th Avenue, and that the wounds are consistent with a mountain lion.”
Unlike bears, mountain lions don’t come to residential areas looking for food. “Lions don’t come around looking for food, so you just want to deter them from being out there,” said Jennifer Churchill, a spokeswoman with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told the Camera. “Try to give them space to get away from you. With lions and bears, make yourself look big. You don’t want to run, just back away slowly and give them a chance to escape.”
So the question remains, why are they coming down is seemingly growing numbers? It was only in June that a Youtube video went viral, filmed at a home near Boulder, showing a mountain lion and a house cat facing off, just a glass door between them.
Back in February, Kristin Cannon of Colorado Parks and Wildlife told Your Boulder that, “There seems to be an uptick in reported sightings over the last several weeks. Generally speaking, it seems like there is more mountain lion activity in winter months. This doesn’t mean that lions aren’t present in other months, just that this is when we see the most reports. This could be because the deer tend to concentrate closer to town in winter months.”
At the end of the day, the only thing we can do is be careful. There have only been two confirmed human deaths caused by mountain lions ever in Colorado, but we do need to keep an eye on our pets, particularly at dawn and dusk. The simply truth is that they’re all around us, but they try their best to avoid human contact and that’s a good thing. We share this region with these lions, so we need to coexist. Just be careful.