Friday, August 3, 2012

Wildlife Officials Kill Lion Believed Responsible for Harper's Lake Encounter

Last week I posted a story about mountain lion that approached a four-year-old child at Harpers Lake Campground in the Blackfoot Valley. In a press release dated yesterday, state wildlife officials stated they believe they have killed that lion.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) personnel have been on-site pursuing this unusually aggressive lion in the lower Clearwater watershed for more than a week and were able to track and kill the lion on the late evening of Aug. 1.

FWP Biologist, Jay Kolbe and wildlife conflict specialist, Bob Wiesner, dispatched the lion around 11 p.m. after responding to a report of a lion attack on a dog near a home on River Watch Trail, several miles north of Harpers Lake.

“We are relieved to have this lion out of the area,” said Kolbe. “Its approach on that child last week was a signal that this lion might continue approaching people, and it had not responded to multiple attempts to frighten it away.”

Kolbe said that the lion killed matches the witness' descriptions and photos of the Harper’s lion. The lion was a 117-pound young adult male with little fat and an empty stomach, according to Kolbe. FWP will transport the carcass to the FWP Wildlife Lab in Bozeman for further examination.

Kolbe suspects that it is a different set of lions that have been sighted recently at Salmon Lake Campground, and reminds those spending time at Salmon Lake, or anywhere outdoors in western Montana, to review lion safety tips.

Some key tips include keeping small children and pets nearby. In the case of an encounter, immediately pick up small children and don’t run from or approach the lion. Give the lion room to leave the area, remain standing and face the lion, talk in a calm voice, and enlarge your image as much as possible. If a lion attacks, fight back.

For more information on recreating in mountain lion country, and what to do if you encounter one, please click here.

Glacier National Park Trails

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