Large Mountain Lion Sighted In Neighborhood Near Downtown Santa Fe NM
SANTA FE, NM –-(AmmoLand.com)- The Department of Game and Fish is advising residents of a neighborhood near downtown Santa Fe to be on the lookout for a large mountain lion that has been sighted and may be living in a residential area.
Department wildlife biologists sighted the lion at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, about an hour after area residents reported seeing the animal. The lion eluded capture by traveling along walls and through back yards in the quiet but densely populated neighborhood near Cordova Road and Don Gaspar Avenue. Based on many fresh and old tracks discovered while pursuing it, the biologists believe the lion is a resident of the area.
The Department continued to search for the lion Tuesday afternoon. If and when it is located, it will be tranquilized and removed from the area.
Residents and others who frequent the area surrounding Cordova Road and Don Gaspar Avenue are advised to be aware that a large predator may be around and to take precautions to protect themselves, their pets and their neighbors. Children should be closely supervised and not allowed to play outside during the hours before dusk until well after dawn. Pets should not be left outside at night, and all food and garbage should be securely stored inside a building.
Anyone who sees the mountain lion is urged to call Game and Fish dispatch at (505) 827-9376 at any time. Sightings also can be reported at Department offices in Santa Fe, (505) 476-8000, or Albuquerque, (505) 222-4700, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Although human-cougar encounters are relatively rare, the Department advises residents — especially those in outlying areas — to be aware of their surroundings and to take precautions to avoid encounters with large predators.
Lions generally are attracted to communities for food. They are most active from dusk to dawn, although they sometimes travel and hunt in daylight. Lions prefer to eat deer; however, they also kill elk, small mammals, livestock and a variety of domestic animals such as dogs and cats.
Here are some ways to protect yourself, your family and wildlife from unwanted encounters with mountain lions and other large predators:
- Do not feed wildlife. Use native plants in landscaping, not non-natives, so as to not attract deer, which are the primary prey of lions. Remember, predators follow prey.
- Do not let your pets roam around outside. Bring them in at night. If you keep pets outside, provide a kennel with a secure top. Do not feed pets outside where the food can attract lions or other smaller animals which lions prey upon. Store and dispose of all garbage securely.
- Closely supervise children. Make sure they are home before dusk and not outside before dawn. Make lots of noise if you come or go during times when mountain lions are most active — dusk to dawn. Teach your children about lions and what they should do if they encounter one.
- Landscape or remove vegetation to eliminate hiding cover for lions, especially around areas where children play. Make it difficult for a lion to approach unseen.
- Install outdoor lighting, especially in areas where you walk, so you can see a lion if one were present.
- Close off open spaces below porches or decks.
- Place all livestock in enclosed sheds or barns at night. Close the doors to all outbuildings so that an inquisitive lion is prevented from going inside to look around.
Mountain lion encounters and attacks are extremely rare, but if you do encounter a lion in the wild or in town, you should:
- Stop or back away slowly if you can do so safely.
- Stay calm when you come upon a lion talk calmly yet firmly to it and move slowly.
Immediately pick up all children off the ground and tell them to stay calm.
Do not run from a lion as fleeing behavior may trigger the instinct of the lion to attack.
Face the lion — do not turn your back — remain in an upright position and look as large as possible (raise your arms, open up your coat, if you're wearing one).
- Carry a walking stick and use it to defend yourself by keeping it between you and the lion. If the lion approaches closer or behaves aggressively, arm yourself with the stick, throw rocks or sticks at the lion, and speak louder and more firmly to the lion. Convince the lion you are dominant and a danger to it.
- Fight back if a lion attacks you. Use any possible object within reach as a weapon, such as rocks, sticks, jackets, a backpack or your bare hands. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. Stay standing and if you fall down try to get back up on your feet.
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is responsible for managing, conserving and protecting wildlife. If you have an encounter with a lion or an attack occurs, please contact the Department at (505) 476-8000 during regular business hours, or your local sheriff's or police department if you feel you are in danger.
For more information about mountain lions and living around large predators, please visit the Department Web site and check out the publication, Living with Large Predators in New Mexico.