Cougar shot in tree next door to daycare center


Mar 11, 2001
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Mountain lion shot near North Montana Ave.

By EVE BYRON, Montana Standard


HELENA – A mountain lion was shot and killed in the Ranchview Subdivision off of North Montana Avenue Thursday morning.

The lion apparently was first spotted by a man mowing his lawn in the subdivision about 9:30 a.m., according to Gayle Joslin, a wildlife biologist with Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

“This fellow was mowing his lawn and his two dogs were sitting at the base of a tree, looking up, not barking,” Joslin said. “So he looks up in the tree and says ‘Huh, it’s not a porcupine.’ ”

The man called officials with FWP, who darted and tranquilized the young lion to get it out of the tree. It later was euthanized.

“We didn’t want to do that, but there is a pretty specific policy we follow when lions are coming into a subdivision,” Joslin said. “If it had just moved on and not hung around ... but instead he made some poor choices this morning and ended up in an olive tree.”

She added that the tree was next door to a day care center.

“All the children were hanging over the fence looking at it,” she said.

Joslin said the cub was only 9-10 months old, and probably couldn’t have survived on its own had it been released to the wilderness elsewhere.

“He probably would have starved,” she said.

They also don’t take mountain lions to the wild animal shelter in Helena because of all the human contact made at the current facility.

“It isn’t an environment where you can rehabilitate or raise an animal,” Joslin said. “There’s just too much exposure to people.”

Joslin sadly noted that this probably is “the wave of the future” as more and more people move into subdivisions outside of town, which is prime coyote, deer and mountain lion habitat.

“It’s important to let people know that we have no options. As long as subdivisions are encroaching on wildlife habitat we will have conflicts, and there are no places to put mountain lions,” she said. “If we take this animal out of one place, you’re putting him into another that is someone else’s territory. He would either get killed by another mountain lion or starve to death.”

She encourages people to feed their pets indoors and take other measures not to attract wild animals into residential areas.

“If you don’t, you’re bringing wild animals into those places and they’ll get shot, and it’s not the animal’s fault,” Joslin said.

hunter mike

Well-known member
May 5, 2001
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The same thing happened in Redding a little overa year ago.  It was near a school, in a tree.  They found dog and cat hair in its stomach.

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