Colorado Parks and Wildlife defends euthanizing 5 mountain lions in Glenwood Springs area
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — In the weeks since local wildlife officials began to receive reports of mountain lions near homes in West Glenwood, threatening dogs and stalking humans, criticism of the way Colorado Parks and Wildlife handled the situation persists.
After numerous reports of mountain lions in and around Glenwood Springs, caught on infrared video and at least one personal encounter, officials trapped and killed five of the big cats in January. That decision has prompted strong reactions from residents, wildlife advocates and people across the state who felt another solution should have been be exercised.
Parks and Wildlife spokesman Mike Porras maintained that wildlife officials did not make the decision arbitrarily and used their years of knowledge and experience working with wildlife to determine that lethal removal of these animals was the correct solution.
One comment Porras said he’d been hearing from those concerned with the actions is that “the wildlife officials took the easy way out.” He said he felt that was untrue and hurtful to the wildlife officers who have dedicated their lives to protecting the state’s animals, environment and people.
He said killing an animal is “the hardest decision” a wildlife officer has to make and argued the easier move would have been to trap the animal and take it somewhere else. But relocating these particular lions, which had shown “no fear to humans,” was not a viable option for wildlife officials, according to Porras.
Porras said doing so could result in the lions returning to West Glenwood or moving into other human population centers. He added that the displaced lions could disrupt the ecosystem wherever they were moved, especially if there are other established lions nearby.
Among the reports wildlife officials received about West Glenwood mountain lion activity last month included multiple attacks on pets, sightings of mountain lions stalking people in the middle of the day and carcasses of recent elk killings left in people’s backyards.
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