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Mountain Lions Spotted Cruising Through Ketchum Neighborhoods
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A young mountain lion walks near the door of a Ketchum residence. COURTESY: Idaho Fish and Game
   
Monday, February 12, 2024
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Ketchum residents are being warned to be extra vigilant as reports of mountain lions roaming neighborhoods ramp up.

Residents in west and north Ketchum are reporting two mountain lions frequenting their yards. Based on video caught on security cameras, biologists believe they are between 1.5 and 2 years of age. They suspect they’re siblings, said Terry Thompson, communications director for Magic Valley Region Idaho Fish and Game.

Thompson said the ions have bee seen around the clock, even during daylight hours. There have been no reports of attacks on pets.

Thompson said the Magic Valley Region has received at least 17 calls about mountain lions in the Wood River Valley, most from Ketchum and Hailey residents.

He said it’s crucial that residents report sightings, as well as missing pets, so officers can monitor the behavior of the lions and assess potential risks to public safety.

Reports can be made at 208-324-4359. Report attacks by calling 911.

Thompson said that using a light to help you see your surroundings is very important, both in your yard, and as you walk in your neighborhood. If you run or bike for personal fitness, use caution when wearing headphones, which take away your ability to hear if a lion, or any other wildlife, that could be giving you signals that you’re too close.

IF YOU ENCOUNTER A LION:

- NEVER run away from a mountain lion. The lion’s instinct is to chase and ultimately catch what they perceive as potential prey.

- NEVER turn your back on a lion. Always face them while making yourself look as large as you can. Yell loudly, but don’t scream. A high-pitched scream may mimic the sound of a wounded animal.

- SLOWLY back away while maintaining eye contact with the lion.

- If you are attacked, fight back!

- Safety equipment you may choose to carry could include bear spray, a noise device, like an air-horn, and if you walk in the dark, a bright flashlight.

TO KEEP YOUR PET SAFE:

Keep your pets on a leash.

- Watch the pets’ behavior, since they may sense the lion before you can see them.

- Do not feed your pet outside or leave their food dishes outside. The mountain lion will not typically be attracted by pet food, but the food could attract other wildlife that could be looked at as prey by a lion.

- Before letting your pet outside, turn on the lights, make noise and look to ensure the yard is clear of wildlife. Do not assume that a privacy fence will exclude a mountain lion from your yard.

- Accompany your pet outside if possible.

= Do not feed wildlife! Elk and deer are the preferred prey for mountain lions. Un-naturally feeding elk and deer can attract predators to the feed site.

- Strongly encourage your neighbors not to feed elk and deer. To effectively keep predators out of neighborhoods everyone must do their part.

- Do not leave your household garbage outside and unsecure. As with pet food, the garbage will not typically attract a mountain lion, but it might attract other wildlife that would be considered prey by a lion.

- Ensure that a lion cannot get under your patio or deck. These spaces can be a perfect location for a daybed.

- Place covers over window-wells which can also be a place for a lion to use as a daybed.

- Install motion-sensor lights which may discourage wildlife from staying in your yard. Lights can be directed to minimize impact on your neighbors.

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