Mountain lion euthanized to protect public safety

A male mountain lion was euthanized east of Kimberly on the morning of April 24 to protect public safety. It is thought to be the same lion seen over the last two days in the same area, and was showing no fear of humans.

Fish and Game Conservation Officers received a report early Friday morning, April 24, of a mountain lion on a homeowner’s porch east of Kimberly. This was the second report of a mountain lion in the Kimberly area in two days. Before the officers’ arrival, the homeowner made repeated unsuccessful attempts to haze the mountain lion away from the house. The homeowner reported that the lion showed no fear despite him yelling repeatedly at the lion, and at one point the lion hissed and took an aggressive posture towards the homeowner.

Once on scene, the two Conservation Officers observed the male lion exhibiting no fear of humans. The lion stood its ground, and did not make any attempt to flee the area, which is not typical mountain lion behavior. “We arrived on scene with the expectation of hazing the lion since it was in a rural area, and very near mountain lion habitat in the South Hills, south of Kimberly,” according to Regional Conservation Officer Josh Royse, “but what we found was a lion that was not exhibiting normal lion behavior, by not attempting to run away when approached. This behavior is very concerning because it has the potential of bringing people and lions into close proximity to each other, and causes concern for human safety. In the interest of public safety for local residents, the decision was made to euthanize the lion.”

While it cannot be verified, it is thought that this is the same lion that was seen in Kimberly the previous day, on the morning of April 23. That lion sighting happened about 6:45 a.m. in the heart of Kimberly, when the lion was observed on the porch of a home. Fish and Game officers, in cooperation with the Kimberly Police Department searched the community throughout the morning but could not find the lion.

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!

Residents are encouraged to report any sightings of mountain lions to the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359, during normal business hours of Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Any incidents where a person must take action to cause the lion to flee or back down, or any attacks by mountain lions on pets or people should be reported immediately to the Magic Valley Regional Office or local law enforcement by calling 911.