Lions on the Prowl in Woodland Park

by Rick Langenberg:  

Council members warn residents to remain on their guard

The Woodland Park Police and elected leaders are warning residents of a potential mountain lion threat in key residential areas.

As a result, residents should be on guard and abide by caution, when walking their dogs and guarding over their pets.

According to a WP Police Facebook post, a mountain lion and two cubs were spotted under porches at homes in the area of Northwoods Drive, a main residential section in town. “If you live in this area, please watch your pets and do not approach the mountain lion if it crosses your path,” the post stated.

The department also notified the Colorado Division of Wildfire, which has been called out at least twice to move the animals out of the neighborhoods

At last week’s council meeting, several elected leaders continued to emphasize this threat and told the audience and viewing public on-line that several mountain lions have been spotted in residential areas. And at least one death of a local cat has occurred, reportedly due to a recent mountain lion attack.   

Officials, though, are downplaying the recent sightings, saying Woodland Park is mountain lion country. They don’t believe the area is under siege any more than usual.

According to Woodland Park Police Chief Miles De Young, DOW officials have cited the feeding of deer and elk as the main culprit in the latest preponderance of lion sightings. “People like the deer so they keep feeding them,” said the police chief.  “We have been told that is the main culprit.”

He confirmed that the threat of a lion and cubs, living underneath local porch areas, has been removed temporarily.     

Mountain lion alerts aren’t unusual this time of year. Residents are reminded that this is a prime mountain lion habitat. That point was emphasized by several members of the city council, who advised residents to remain on their guard and to make themselves look as large as possible, if they confront a lion.   

However, it is rare that mountain lions move into residential areas.

The biggest threat for mountain lion sightings is when the animals become more domesticated. In normal instances, lions are threatened by human activity.

This region has hardly experienced any instances of mountain lion attacks, involving people. But the lower Ute Pass, and even sections near the Broadmoor and rural sections of Teller, has encountered many reports of lion assaults against canines and cats. Recently, a mountain lion attacked and killed a member of the Two Mile High donkey herd in a secure pasture just outside Cripple Creek.  

 According to Division of Wildlife authorities, the area hasn’t experienced an increase in mountain lion sightings. However, DOW officials say that a huge increase has occurred in sightings of coyotes.