Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Here Kitty Kitty Kitty...

This from my proverbial backyard, as reported in a Houston paper:
BOULDER, Colo. — A wildlife officer today shot and killed a female mountain lion that attacked a 7-year-old boy hiking with his family.

The 80-pound cat had bitten the boy's head. The child also suffered puncture wounds and scrapes on his legs, likely from the animal's claws, Division of Wildlife spokesman Tyler Baskfield said.

Boulder County sheriff's officials said the boy's injuries were not life-threatening. He was hospitalized at The Children's Hospital, where officials would not release his condition.

The boy, whose name was not released, was apparently the last in a single-file line of seven other people taking a short hike Saturday at a scenic area of Flagstaff Mountain, Baskfield said.

"The father turned and saw the cat had a hold of the young boy," he said. The group began screaming at the cat and throwing rocks and was able to free the boy, he said.

The group was 50 yards from a parking lot when the cat attacked, Baskfield said.

The officer shot the cat in the same area of the attack, Baskfield said. It was killed in the interest of public safety, he said.

A necropsy was planned to try to determine whether the animal was diseased or had another reason to attack, he said.

Baskfield said the mountain is prime habitat for the cats, and there had been several recent sightings of mountain lions west of Boulder.
Yeah, there are so many cats around here these days there's even a book about lion/people encounters in the Boulder area, Beasts in the Garden. I see sign pretty often, although I haven't seen a cat.

The people in this attack did everything right...they were on a common trail, one I've been on a thousand times; they traveled in a group; they tried to scare the cat off; blah blah. Here's the deal...you're a fool to hit the trails around Boulder if you're alone and unarmed. The cats are used to people, and they see the "urban deer" as easy pickin's. There hasn't been a mountain lion hunting season in this area in decades...you're prey, and apparently quite yummy!

Plus, there are predators out there a lot more dangerous than the cats...


Anonymous said...

My sister-in-law had to shoot one that had set up shop right by the house at the family ranch. It was living on critters that came to feed on the front yard grass and bushes. She said she got the creeps from the way it watched her when she walked around outside. She sent the head off to see if it was rabid. It wasn't. We call her "Cougar" now.

Anonymous said...

Tree hugging, birkenstock wearing anti gunners...to a mountain Lion it's what's for dinner!

In India the last person in line in tiger country wears a painted mask of a human face backwards on their head. Supposedly a Tiger will not attack if it believes it is being watched.

Know any ardent Hoplophobes you can convince to try this out in Cougar country!

Chas S. Clifton said...

The interesting thing that I learned from Beast in the Garden was that once the Boulderites made it clear that they did not want the Colorado Div. of Wildlife, the DOW more or less washed its hands of the problem. Results: lots of lions, people on their own to deal with them. And, y'know, maybe that's OK. It's interesting to have another top predator sharing the landscape.

I lived in Boulder in the mid-1980s as a grad student, just as the lion population was really growing, and people were still excitedly reporting sightings.

Mr. Bruce said...

What a useless news report.

What caliber? What kind of ammunition? From what distance? How many shots? Where was the cat hit and how quickly did it expire?