Agents from the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) were called to the backyard of 408 Reese Street in Lyons Monday afternoon January 7, to deal with a “cat in a tree” problem. In this case, it turned out the “cat” was a 95-pound year old male mountain lion, which had been prowling the neighborhood for
the previous couple of days. An anonymous DOW source at the scene speculated that not only was this the same lion that had taken a pet from a neighbor’s backyard a few days earlier, he also added that this was the same animal that had killed some livestock in the Red Gulch Road vicinity a few weeks ago.
The DOW had recently placed mountain lion warning signs on telephone and street poles along Seward, between 5th and 4th Avenue, and had only that morning placed a baited “live” trap in the backyard where the pet had been killed, when a dog, belonging to a resident on McCall Alley, treed the lion. A construction worker doing work next door heard the commotion, saw the lion climb the tree, and alerted the authorities. The DOW employee was on the scene within a few minutes, and while he waited for “back up,” word got out around town about what was going on. By the time several other DOW agents arrived with nets and tranquilizer guns, a dozen curious neighbors had gathered to watch the drama unfold.
After darting the cat, which was about twenty feet up the tree, one agent climbed a ladder with a rope to secure the animal, while several others waited below with a net. The lion was then lowered down to the waiting group. A solar powered location transmitter and two ear ID tags were replaced, the animal was measured and weighed, and then he was placed in a waiting cage to the cheers and “atta boys” from the appreciative crowd of animal lovers who had gathered. The same anonymous source indicated that the lion would most likely be relocated to a remote area in the mountains to the west of Lyons.
Although this particular problem lion has been captured, residents should be aware that its removal doesn’t mean they should lessen their vigil concerning letting pets out during the evening or early morning hours. There are estimated to be at least seven “tagged” (animals with IDs and location transmitters) lions whose “range” is the Boulder/Lyons area. Residents should also be alert when out hiking or biking in the area around Lyons, especially when small children are along for the activity. You can get more information about avoiding wildlife confrontations at the DOW website, www.wildlife.state.co.us.