Thursday, April 12, 2007
Wildlife officers tranquilized a female mountain lion caught feasting on a deer in a north Boulder, Colo., backyard Thursday and plan to relocate her to a remote mountain location once she is medically cleared.
The cat, which weighed about 90 pounds and was between 2 and 3 years old, was spotted just before 9 a.m. by Ken Furie, who told officials he was investigating why several deer in his neighbor's yard were acting strangely by jumping up and showing their hooves. After looking over a fence, Furie saw the caramel-colored cat sitting over her kill.
"The cat just looked at him," said Furie's wife, Krista, who, in turn, called Colorado Department of Wildlife officials.
Officers shot the mountain lion with a tranquilizer dart and the cat sprinted a couple yards to the west before succumbing to the drugs. It came to a rest beneath a child's red swing hanging from a cottonwood tree.
The cat was loaded into a large kennel and carted away in the back of a pickup truck.
"They're friends of ours," neighbor Kurt Gerstle said of the mountain lions. Gerstle has lived in the neighborhood abutting the foothills in north Boulder for 50 years. The cat was enjoying its breakfast in his yard.
Department of Wildlife officer Claire Solohub said her office is getting a lot of calls about mountain lion sightings recently. Many have turned out to be coyotes, she said.
"It's not necessarily unusual for them to be in town," Solohub said of mountain lions.
The lion, outfitted with a green ear tag while she was sleeping, showed no aggressive behavior, Churchill added.
A mountain lion's range can encompass up to 370 square miles, so when the cats are relocated, they are taken quite a distance away in hopes that they won't return, Churchill said.