Friday, September 07, 2007

Livestock Puma will not be trapped and killed

Thank you Sue (see below) for doing all this wonderful research and summarizing it in a email. I can picture the incident in great detail because I knew the horse and I've wandered through the pasture where it happened.


Hi Everyone,
An update about the lion situation: The trap has been pulled.

At this point they are not planning on taking any further action other than to keep a close eye on any further incidents that arise.

Here are the facts as shared by the DOW information officer, Jennifer Churchill who was very informative and nice. Most of you already know these but here it is for those who don't:
  • The pony was killed on Saturday night at the top of the lower meadow of the Kellogg's property. He was then dragged down near the corral which is near William Kellogg's house.
  • The lion did not kill the pony at Otsie's house, nor did it ever go to his house, it was seen only on the Kellogg's property.
  • The main concern was after Otsie had his farrier down to work with his remaining horses (I believe on Sunday or Monday). The lion stayed next to the pony's remains for the hour or so that Otsie and his farrier were working with the horses. Again-the lion was in the open meadow next to the pony's remains. The Camera reported that it was in an open meadow and neglected to mention that it was next to it's cache, very typical lion behavior.
  • We discussed lion behavior and she agreed that some lions do stick closer to their cache than others, but it always makes them more cautious when they see lions who stay near their prey in the presence of humans.
  • For what it's worth, I'd like to share my perspective on such behavior: I have done research on Open Space properties for the past decade and work in an area where road killed deer (and lion-killed deer who are taken too close to residential areas) are dropped off for lions to be able to eat in a safe location away from people. Many rangers have commented that they will often have to shoot lions with rubber bullets in order to get them away from their caches and I have pictures here, here, and here that show a lion in my study area in South Boulder doing just that, hunkering down on his cache, despite the rangers watching them and taking photographs from a truck.
  • The only other killings that she said concerned them were of a llama and a pony. One was on Flagstaff and she couldn't remember where the other one was (I believe the llama was Sugarloaf). She said there was no way to know if this was the same lion, but they were concerned that the lion had possibly shifted it's prey choice to livestock rather than deer/elk and they target lions who start focusing on livestock.
  • I asked if there was any regulation regarding responsible livestock or pet ownership and she said no. She agreed completely that the lion is the one who pays with his life when we choose to let our dogs run free or we don't keep our livestock in safe enclosures at night. Even if you don't report it to the DOW when your dog is killed, it's clear that word of mouth spreads the story and then, when an event happens as did with the pony, the stories fly such as "I know of 7 dogs in the Magnolia area that were killed by lions." Unverifiable information but quite powerful when rumors start to make it back to the DOW. When a decision about whether to kill a lion or not is unclear, those stories push the DOW into choosing a lethal option.
  • I asked if we could organize a neighborhood meeting with their district rangers and she said she would make some calls and see if they can pull that together. I offered to organize things from this end and will call her next week to see what kind of time constraints they have on their end.
  • If anyone has a venue that they know about or could volunteer to host such an event please let me know.
  • Please send me a private email stating if you would like to come to a meeting with Sinapu and the Division of Wildlife and I will start contacting everyone to see what dates are best.

Thanks to everyone for their feedback. I still would like to gather as many factual accounts of lion encounters so that we can have the right information available should there be any other lion predation event. I'd also like to hear from people who have had no encounters as those are valuable as well.

Thank you all for taking the time to read these updates,