On Wednesday, January 25, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game received a report that a mountain lion kitten was spotted in the same area as last week’s lion captures in the Johnny Creek area of Pocatello.
Because it was apparent that this kitten was part of the mountain lion family that had been relocated the week before, attempts were made to capture the young cat using a hound and dog handler. It was successfully treed by Wednesday afternoon, but not in a location that allowed for safe retrieval. The risks to the kitten and staff were too great.
The young cat was still in the tree at 8:00 pm that evening when Fish and Game personnel placed parts of a road-killed deer down the hill from the tree. The hope was that when the kitten came down during the night, it would stop to feed and then leave tracks for Fish and Game to follow.
Luckily, the mountain lion kitten did just that.
On the morning of January 26, Fish and Game personnel with the aid of a hound hunter and dog were able to follow the kitten tracks from the food site to the original residence where the mountain lion family was first observed the week before. The kitten was sheltered under the same part of the home’s deck where its mom and siblings had been at one time. A catch pole was used to remove the kitten from under the deck before placing it in a crate.
It is Fish and Game’s intent to release the young mountain lion in the vicinity of its mother and three siblings as soon as we can pinpoint their locations. The mother cat is wearing a radio collar, but Fish and Game has not received a recent signal.
“The kitten’s best chance of survival is to release it as close to mom as possible,” says Jennifer Jackson, Regional Conservation Educator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “It would be difficult for the young cat to live on its own and feed itself with the kind of harsh winter we are having.”
During the week of January 16, Idaho Department of Fish and Game became aware of a mountain lion family that had made themselves at home right among the residents of Johnny Creek. Mama mountain lion and what was originally thought to be just three kittens were taking advantage of the urban deer and other wildlife living in the area, and using people’s yards as their personal pantry for caching (storing) their kills. These factors made removal of the mountain lions necessary.
Fish and Game transported and released the female and her other three kittens to suitable and more remote habitat on the afternoon of January 20.
This is the first capture and release of an entire mountain lion family by Idaho Fish and Game in the southeast region.