IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Idaho Department of Fish and Game officers killed an adult male mountain lion that exhibited no fear of humans and made no attempt to flee the area in Idaho Falls Wednesday morning.
"We don't by any means want anybody to feel like they need to live in fear," Fish and Game Regional Communications Manager, James Brower said. "This is a pretty rare occurrence, it doesn't happen all the time usually when it does happen it's it's in a more rural setting. So it's not that common they come into the urban areas but there's just certain things you can do like if you're walking outside at night have a very bright flashlight with you make lots of noise as well."
The mountain lion was reported by a resident who spotted the animal walking through the neighborhood and quickly called local law enforcement.
An IFPD Officer patrolling the area saw the mountain lion cross a road at about 3 a.m. Wednesday morning and was able to corner the lion in the parking lot of a nearby LDS church building near 49th S. and Stanfield Lane before calling a Fish and Game officer to assist.
Conservation Officer Devin Skidmore said the male lion exhibited no fear of humans and made no attempt to flee the area, which is not typical mountain lion behavior.
“Given the behavior of the mountain lion and the proximity to a highly populated area the decision was made to dispatch the animal,” Skidmore said. “This was not a safe place for a lion to be, and human safety is always our number one concern."
Idaho has never had a recorded incident of a mountain lion killing a person, but two human fatalities by mountain lions occurred in Oregon and Washington in 2018, along with numerous other incidents involving mountain lions in Idaho in recent years.
More about mountain lions and what to do if you encounter one
By nature, mountain lions are shy and will make every effort to avoid contact with humans. But, if a person finds themselves in close proximity to a lion, meaning they see it, they should:
- NEVER run away from a mountain lion. The lion’s instinct is to chase and ultimately catch what they perceive as a 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.
- 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 very bright flashlight.
- If you are attacked, fight back!
Mountain lion sighting in residential areas should be immediately reported to your Fish and Game Office, local law enforcement or by calling 911.