EDWARDS — Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are issuing a safety warning to people in the area of Edwards in Eagle County after multiple reports of anywhere from 8-10 lions roaming neighborhoods.
CPW says there has been a dramatic increase in lion activity over the past week throughout the county with multiple confirmed sightings of a big group of cats, several animal carcasses as well as at least two attacks on dogs.
While it is rare for lions to hunt humans, safety concerns are increasing due to the apparent grouping of the big cats, which poses a greater risk for harmful interactions.
District Wildlife Manager Matt Yamashita says, “we urge residents to be extremely cautious because lions are large, powerful predators and can be very dangerous if they’ve lost their natural fear of people. We are monitoring the situation very closely. If you live in Edwards and the surrounding area, we strongly recommend extra vigilance and advise you to report lion sightings or conflicts to CPW immediately.”
Officers say the group of lions that is roaming in the Eagle County area is likely 2 full grown females each with a litter of 3 or 4 juvenile lions, however those juveniles are believed to be nearly full grown and possibly as large or larger than their mother.
Yamashita adds, “it appears the female lions are teaching their young to hunt among a human populated area. Considering we are talking about nearly full-grown lions, that is not a sustainable situation.”
CPW Regional managers go on to call this a troubling situation and they hope people will take the warning seriously.
“We have a growing human population and we have more lions than ever before in some areas of Colorado,” CPW’s JT Romatzke says, “Our officers, researchers and biologists are studying this very closely. We are looking at our best options, based on science, biology and sound management practices.”
The habitat of a mountain lion can include nearly any area along the Front Range, here is a list of recommended actions:
- Call CPW immediately if you see a lion in your neighborhood
- Make lots of noise if you come and go during the time mountain lions are most active: dusk to dawn.
- Install outside lighting. Light areas where you walk so you could see a lion if one were present.
- Closely supervise children whenever they play outdoors. Make sure children are inside before dusk and not outside before dawn. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.
- Landscape or remove vegetation to eliminate hiding places for lions, especially around children’s play areas. Make it difficult for lions to approach unseen.
- Planting non-native shrubs and plants that deer often prefer to eat encourages wildlife to come onto your property. Predators follow prey. Don’t feed any wildlife!
- Keep your pet under control. Roaming pets are easy prey and can attract lions. Bring pets in at night. If you leave your pet outside, keep it in a kennel with a secure top. Don’t feed pets outside; this can attract raccoons and other animals that are eaten by lions. Store all garbage securely.
- Place livestock in enclosed sheds or barns at night. Close doors to all outbuildings since inquisitive lions may go inside for a look.
- Encourage your neighbors to follow these simple precautions. Prevention is far better than a possible lion confrontation.