Mountain lion sightings occur all year

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Recently in Manitou Springs a man spotted three mountain lions outside his house and near Cheyenne Mountain State Park a mountain lion snatched a dog from its leash while its owner walked it.

But that doesn't mean there's a cause for alarm. Mountain lions are active all year long, not just in the spring or summer. Michael Seraphin, spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said there is no timing associated with mountain lions.

“There is no seasonal nature to them. They are active all year long,” Seraphin said.

Seraphin said that there could be more mountain lion sightings soon due to fact that people are getting outdoors because the weather is warming up and it doesn't get darker until later.

“Most people that live in Colorado will never see a mountain lion in their life,” Seraphin said.

He said that mountain lions move around a lot and it's not in their nature to stay in one tight geographical location. He also said mountain lions aren't blood thirsty man eaters and their source of food is that of the four-legged kind such as deer, rabbits and raccoons but they will go after dogs and cats. Seraphin said in the case of the mountain lion that snatched the dog from the leash as its owner walked it, that particular mountain lion was extremely aggressive in order to do that. He said that when a mountain lion exhibits behavior that is more aggressive action has to be taken.

According to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website, www.parks.state.co.us, mountain lions tend to be calm, quiet and elusive. The website states that there has been an increase in human/mountain lion interactions in part because people have moved into lion habitat, there is an increase in the deer population and more people are using hiking trails in lion habitat. However the website does say that very few people will rarely get a glimpse of a mountain lion in the wild.

Seraphin said they have not received any reports of mountain lion sightings this year in Palmer Lake and there was only one report of a sighting at the end of February in Monument. Lt. Jason Vanderpool of the Palmer Lake Police Department said the last time there was a report of a sighting of a mountain lion in Palmer Lake was in the fall.

If someone comes across a mountain lion Seraphin said it is important not to run.

“Don't turn and run because it may trigger a chase response in the mountain lion,” Seraphin said.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife provides several tips on what to do if stumbling upon a mountain lion. When hiking go in groups and make plenty of noise to reduce chances of surprising a mountain lion and keep children close. Don't approach a mountain lion, especially one that is feeding her kittens. A mountain lion will try to avoid confrontation so give them a way to escape.

Make yourself look tall by raising your arms. Stop and back away slowly. If the mountain lion appears aggressive throw stones or branches or whatever else you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back and if it does attack fight back.

Seraphin said to keep dogs on a leash and if they have a dog pen at home make sure there is a covering on top to keep any kind of wildlife out.

For more tips and information on mountain lions visit www.parks.state.co.us and click on the education link and then click on the link Living with Wildlife in Lion Country.

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