By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming Game and Fish officials killed a mountain lion on Monday after it repeatedly wandered into Lander, the department announced.
According to department officials, the female sub-adult mountain lion had been previously captured on New Year’s Day after being seen near McManus Park in Lander. Upon initial capture, she was fitted with a radio collar and relocated to a more remote area within a different river drainage.
However, she returned to the Middle Fork Popo Agie drainage area within a week.
On Monday evening, Game and Fish officials received a report that a deer was covered up with wood chips in a yard in Lander. Upon investigation, it was verified as a mountain lion kill.
In coordination with the public and the Lander Police Department, Game and Fish personnel located the mountain lion and killed her to ensure human safety.
“Relocation is tough with mountain lions because of how far they can move, but based on the initial circumstance of the capture on New Year’s we felt it was proper to try,” said Dan Thompson, a Game and Fish Department large carnivore supervisor. “However, because of the failed relocation attempt and the bold behavior within the city, for human safety, we felt the best option was lethal removal.”
Thompson thanked the city and public for its support, noting it was a “tough day” whenever Game and Fish officials had to put down wildlife.
According to the department, mountain lions often use river and stream drainages as natural travel corridors, which can lead them into town. Mountain lions can move long distances, especially juvenile animals that are dispersing in search of their own home range.
While it is not surprising to see a mountain lion moving through town, Game and Fish doesn’t promote them living in the city of Lander.
There have been fewer than a dozen mountain lion-related fatalities in North America in more than 100 years and most of those attacks involved young lions, which perhaps were forced out to hunt on their own, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Mountain lion hunting is legal in Wyoming, and about 150 to 200 of the animals are killed every year during the season.