LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Wildlife cameras captured three juvenile mountain lions strolling around north of Fort Collins in Larimer County. That’s about 25 miles from the park where a juvenile mountain lion attacked a trail runner. The man ended up fighting off and killing the mountain lion at Horsetooth Mountain Park on Monday.
David Neils, a Wildlife Conservationist, has nearly 30 trail cameras setup across the state and regularly captures the movement of Colorado’s mountain lion population.
“I checked some cameras yesterday and was greeted with incredible footage of three super healthy juvenile lions,” Neils told CBS4’s Jamie Leary on Saturday. “I’m sure the adult female was around as these lions are only 6 months old.”
(credit: David Neils, WildNatureMedia.com)
Neils has been studying mountain lions and educating the public for more than 14 years.
On Friday, CBS4 tagged along with Neils to Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Loveland; a ranch with 3,500 acres of prime mountain lion territory, Neils has 11 trail cameras set up across the property.
“There are three lions that have been using this trail in the last three months and one new lion, a big male,” said Neils.
He says Monday’s attack of a runner is rare. Mountain lions don’t intentionally prey on humans.
“If you’re small like 5’5” or shorter and you’re running by yourself at daybreak, you’ve increased your odds of potentially initiating an attack,” Neils said.
Daybreak and dusk are typical hunting times for lions. Neils says the chances of an attack on a human are 1 in 300 million.
“We don’t have a mountain lion problem at Horsetooth Mountain Park. We just have a situation where people are recreating in an area where there are mountain lions and they just have to be aware.”
Travis Kauffman, the man who was attacked, said he thought he survived, in part, because he wasn’t wearing headphones and was paying attention to his surroundings.
Neils has a workshop coming up for wildlife photographers, wildlife biologists and anyone interested in learning how mountain lions navigate, hunt, mate, raise young and live secret lives all around us. It will be at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch on March 23. Find out more by clicking here.
What to do if you encounter a mountain lion:
- Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
- Stay calm when you come upon a lion. Talk calmly and firmly to it. Move slowly and never turn your back on it.
- Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.
- Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you’re wearing one. If you have small children with you, protect them by picking them up so they won’t panic and run.
- If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back.
- Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. What you want to do is convince the lion you are not prey and that you may in fact be a danger to the lion.
- Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools and their bare hands successfully.
- We recommend targeting the eyes and nose as these are sensitive areas. Remain standing or try to get back up!