Mountain lions are getting bolder and hungrier, as demonstrated by some unusual behavior in recent months. The apex predators are known for hunting and eating meat, but they are frequently in the news of late for their forays into populated areas in search of an easy meal. This should come as a surprise to no one as humans continue to encroach on their habitats.
Rocky Mountain High
According to The Colorado Sun, mountain lions have killed 15 dogs in 30 days in or near the town of Nederland, 17 miles from Boulder, Colorado. Additional information supplied reports that cougars attacked 23 canines between April 4 and December 9, 2022. Locals estimate that between one and five cougars are responsible for the recent spate of deaths, but officials have been unable to identify any culprits specifically linked to the matter.
“It’s gotten sort of out of hand and it needs to be addressed,” Nederland resident Peter James told the Denver Post. “It kind of feels like, is the community responsible for maintaining this kind of safety?”
Stalked By a Puma
Frequently referred to as pumas or cougars, mountain lions have been known to stalk hikers but seldom are they accused of lying in wait outside of residences for a quick snack. That appears to be changing.
The Sun reported that a local by the name of Pam Rose texted a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) official on the evening of December 9 to say that she’d started to fear for her 11-year-old daughter’s wellbeing due to two mountain lions that seemed to be “casing her home” that day.
She noted that since early November, she’s been dealing with the predators, which she believed had “actively stalking” her mini horse and daughter’s pony. This was backed by her tenant, Sarah Bennett, who had also encountered the animals on early-morning runs with her dog, Bagel.
The pumas had been lurking in the distance for weeks, as Rose had seen them watching the horses she boards from a nearby hillside situated on her land in the Roosevelt National Forest. Between reports of cougars attacking dogs in her neighborhood and their sudden interest in her livestock, it had put her nervous system into “overdrive,” as she put it.
The night she alerted CPW was a tipping point for her. A mountain lion had planted itself outside of Bennett’s garden-level door, seemingly biding its time until she brought Bagel out for a potty break. Bennett caught sight of it not 25 feet away and hurried Bagel back inside. “I felt like it knew our patterns,” Rose nervously admitted. “It knew Bagel lived there, and it was waiting to attack,” she continued.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
While locals are understandably up in arms about the situation, there’s not much you can do when you live in a wild animal’s backyard but learn to adapt or go on a killing spree of your own. CPW has outlined some ideas about ways to try to peacefully coexist with the big cats, but it’s likely of little comfort to dog owners in the area — especially those that have lost a beloved pet.