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Mountain lion buries deer in leaves on Pine Drive

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Another cougar euthanized after killing a goat

By Vicky Gits

Wildlife officials responded to a report of a lion sighting in the 27900 block of Pine Drive near the Canyon Courier at 7 a.m. Wednesday, March 11.

Another lion that killed a goat was later trapped and euthanized because it had lost two canine teeth and would have starved to death.

In the first case, officers discovered the young female lion had killed a deer and buried it in a pile of branches.

Based on the homeowner’s report and photographs, the lion was wearing a tag and radio collar. It was identified as one of the animals being tracked as part of the Division of Wildlife’s mountain lion study, said district wildlife manager John Murphy.

The officers removed the deer carcass to force the lion to move to another area. According to DOW policy, the lion wasn’t trapped and relocated because it wasn’t menacing people.

“It was just doing what lions are supposed to do,” Murphy said.

The second case came to officers’ attention when a homeowner reported a lion killed a goat on Peaceful Hills Road on North Turkey Creek on Wednesday night, March 12.

The family’s goats are usually confined to the barn at night, but that night the barn door was left open, Murphy said.

Wildlife officials trapped the lion on Saturday morning and later were forced to euthanize it.

“People need to know it wasn’t because he killed the goat,” Murphy said. “He was euthanized because he was starving to death. He was really in bad shape, and left in the wild he probably would have starved to death.”

The second lion was wearing a collar and was identified as the same lion that was found after it had killed a deer on Troutdale Drive near the condominium buildings in December. The lion had been tracked as far north as Gilpin County in recent months, Murphy said.

As previously reported in the Canyon Courier, three lions were reported stalking a chicken coop on Upper Bear Creek on New Year’s Eve.

Other recent encounters include a lion taking a dog on Upper Bear Creek in January and a coyote taking a dog in Evergreen Estates in February, Murphy said.

Cats that kill domestic animals typically are not getting enough to eat because they have some kind of malady or disability, Murphy said.

The presence of mountain lions should not be viewed as a threat to humans, Murphy said. There are more unfortunate confrontations with deer and elk in the mountain communities because people mistakenly think they are harmless, he said.

The Division of Wildlife is trying to track all the mountain lions on the Front Range between Lyons on the north and U.S. 285. The goals of the study are to determine the relative size of lion territory and what methods are most effective in deterring lions from roaming in populated areas.