Friday, April 24, 2009

New Mexico: Cougar killed after entering courtyards

Updated: Thursday, 23 Apr 2009, 4:23 PM MDT
Published : Thursday, 23 Apr 2009, 3:35 PM MDT

Web Producer: Todd Dukart

ELDORADO AT SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) - Game wardens have killed a cougar who entered the courtyards of two Santa Fe-area homes.

The 100-pound female cougar was captured and euthanized after she was found Monday at the homes in the Eldorado subdivision.

Game warden Desi Ortiz said the cougar showed no fear when he arrived at the first home. The animal stared back at him as he positioned himself with a tranquilizer gun.

Ortiz said he hit the mountain lion in the hind leg with a tranquilizer dart. She jumped over the wall to the courtyard and went missing.

A short time later, Ortiz was called to another home where a cougar was seen staggering into the courtyard.

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish officials said the original plan was to move the animal to the Jemez Mountains, but she was euthanized after officials determined she was too dangerous to people.

Dan Williams with Game and Fish said in a news release the cougar appeared to have lost its fear of humans.

Tips to avoid encounters with mountain lions and other large predators, according to Game and Fish:
* Do not feed wildlife. Use native plants, not non-natives, so as to not attract deer, which are the primary prey of lions. Remember, predators follow prey. * Do not let your pets roam around outside. Bring them in at night. If you keep pets outside, provide a kennel with a secure top. Do not feed pets outside where the food can attract lions or other smaller animals which lions prey upon. Store and dispose of all garbage securely. * Closely supervise children. Make sure they are home before dusk and not outside before dawn. Make lots of noise if you come or go during times when mountain lions are most active — dusk to dawn. Teach your children about lions and what they should do if they encounter one. * Landscape or remove vegetation to eliminate hiding cover for lions, especially around areas where children play. Make it difficult for a lion to approach unseen. * Install outdoor lighting, especially in areas where you walk, so you can see a lion if one were present. * Close off open spaces below porches or decks. * Place all livestock in enclosed sheds or barns at night. Close the doors to all outbuildings so that an inquisitive lion is prevented from going inside to look around. * Also, if you encounter a mountain lion:
Stop or back away slowly if you can do so safely.
* Stay calm when you come upon a lion talk calmly yet firmly to it and move slowly. * Immediately pick up all children off the ground and tell them to stay calm. * Do not run from a lion as fleeing behavior may trigger the instinct of the lion to attack. * Face the lion — do not turn your back — remain in an upright position and look as large as possible (raise your arms, open up your coat, if your wearing one). * Carry a walking stick and use it to defend yourself by keeping it between you and the lion. If the lion approaches closer or behaves aggressively, arm yourself with the stick, throw rocks or sticks at the lion, and speak louder and more firmly to the lion. Convince the lion you are dominant and a danger to it. * Fight back if a lion attacks you. Use any possible object within reach as a weapon, such as rocks, sticks, jackets, a backpack or your bare hands. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. Stay standing and if you fall down try to get back up on your feet. * Call police if you feel you are in danger.

http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/environment/environment_ap_eldorado_at_santa_fe_cougar_200904231534

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