AR-News: (US-ID) Sightings of big cats on rise in city's parks,
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Wed Oct 1 18:07:27 EDT 2003
Sightings of big cats on rise in city's parks, greenbelt
File - Associated Press
A young cougar crouches in a box elder tree in July in Petersboro, Utah,
after being chased by dogs. There have been no fatal attacks by cougars in
Idaho since the 1800s, but other states in the West have had them.
BOISE _ It seems unlikely, but an increasing number of mountain lions have
been spotted along Boise's famous greenbelt and in urban parks during the
past few months.
On Monday, Gary Mountain was riding his bicycle on a path near the Boise
River at lunchtime when he spotted a cougar crossing the greenbelt below
Warm Springs Mesa.
"I thought, `Do I look like a predator to him or do I look like lunch?"'
Mountain said after the incident.
Idaho Fish and Game officials say mountain lions are more common this year
in the foothills above Boise because deer numbers have increased.
Mild winters in the past few years have increased deer numbers; and mountain
lions follow the herds. In all, there have been about a dozen reports in the
past several months in the Boise area.
There have been no fatal attacks by mountain lions in Idaho since the late
1800s, officials said. But other western states have had them. A jogger was
killed in Auburn, Calif., in 1994.
Mountain lions -- also called cougars, pumas or panthers -- may weigh up to
160 pounds and measure eight feet from nose to tail.
Although deer are a primary food for mountain lions, the large cats also
will eat neighborhood cats and small dogs.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture trapped and killed a mountain
lion north of Hidden Springs because it was eating livestock.
Conservation officers with tracking dogs are dispatched immediately to
reports of sightings.
"We have no tolerance for mountain lions in developed areas," said Jon
Rachael, regional wildlife manager for Fish and Game. "We don't want them in
"The indifference, callousness and contempt that so many peiple exibit
toward animals is evel first because it results in the great suffering of
animals, and second because it results in an incalculably great
impoverishment of the human spirit."
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