Kathy Davis, Times Reporter
A young mountain lion that built a den in the brush on River Street in Buena Vista had to be shot because it already had an orange tag in its ear, Division of Wildlife manager Randy Hancock said June 1. The mountain lion was under a year old and weighed about 80 pounds, Hancock said. A little over two weeks ago, the mountain lion was seen in a subdivision in Chalk Creek. Chalk Creek residents contacted Salida DOW manager Rob Dobson. Dobson was able to walk right up to the mountain lion, Hancock said. The mountain lion was tranquilized, tagged and moved to more native country in the Fourmile Travel Management Area.
A couple of weeks ago, the mountain lion made its way to Buena Vista and killed a deer in an area along Cottonwood Creek just off Railroad Avenue. The mountain lion made a den in the brush near the deer carcass.
About a week ago, Dee Warner of Manitou Springs was visiting her aunt Jody Grieb, who lives on River Street. The two were cleaning in Grieb's garage when they heard Warner's dog, a standard poodle, bark. Grieb and Warner went to check on the dog and saw the mountain lion standing on three paws with one paw ready to swipe at the dog, Warner said. The dog had wandered toward the deer carcass and the lion "was trying to protect its food," Warner said. The mountain lion hissed at the dog, she said. Warner's dog returned to the Grieb residence when Warner called it. Warner later drove down the alley near River Street and saw the location of the deer carcass and the mountain lion's den. She contacted DOW.
Hancock said when he saw the orange tag in the mountain lion's ear, he contacted supervisors and was told to "put it down."
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According to the Mountain Lion Foundation,the young lion was seen along a narrow greenbelt in Chaffee County that connects two large mountain ranges (Gunnison and San Isabel National Forests). The cougar had set up a temporary den near his deer kill beside Cottonwood Creek.
Did the Colorado Division of Wildlife respond too drastically?
What should be considered before decided the fate of the lion, kill vs. relocation?
How would you feel if your family lived in this location?
Please share your thoughts :)