GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Wildlife officers in Glenwood Springs euthanized five mountain lions in less than a month. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers trapped and killed a mother lion and her four nearly full-grown cubs, which were displaying aggressive behavior toward people in a West Glenwood subdivision.
In the last month, department officials say they have seen a huge increase in cougar sightings. Officers are receiving between five and 10 calls a day and have taken reports on dozens of run-ins.
As deer come down the mountains looking for food, their predators often follow them, Perry Will, Area Wildlife Manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
Kirby Wynn, who lives in the West Glenwood neighborhood, made a report in mid-January after a mountain lion attacked his dog.
“We heard our dog shrieking,” Wynn said. “He has some punctures on the top of his head and underneath his jaw.”
A neighbor’s critter cam captured video of the big cat family that showed almost no fear of humans.
“I got to the door and I was yelling,” Wynn explained. “And the lion didn’t just jump up and run away. I had to literally go within a foot of it to try to kick it off my dog.”
Some residents expressed outrage that Parks and Wildlife put the cats down. Will said in this case, euthanasia was the only option.
“We do not like putting down mountain lions,” Will said.
Relocating the cats, he said, would not have stopped their behavior from continuing elsewhere, putting other people in danger.
“We couldn’t go turn them loose somewhere else and have them become someone else’s problem,” Will said.
Will wanted people to know that CPW’s goal is not to get rid of the lions, but to keep people safe. As of right now, authorities do not plan to set out any additional traps.
Residents who spot a mountain lion in their neighborhood should make a report immediately with Colorado Parks & Wildlife.
The agency has more information on helping to prevent human injuries which could lead to mountain lion euthanasia.