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Depredation incident leads to another mountain lion euthanized in Hailey

Posted at 5:00 PM, Apr 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-11 19:00:23-04

HAILEY, Idaho — A juvenile mountain lion has been euthanized after being found inside a residential chicken coop in Hailey.

On April 10, the department of Fish and Game made the choice to remove the lion from the ecosystem after exhausting all other routes. Fish and Game never takes this decision lightly and factors in crucial keys before ending an animal's life.

“Given some of the limitations, the timing, the situation, unfortunately, that's an option that that we can, and we do use,” said Mike McDonald, Regional Wildlife Manager for Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG).

Other options, such as relocation or finding a zoo, are not viable options for a few reasons. Relocation can lead to the animal's starvation or territorial issues, leading to lions killing each other. Most accredited zoos and sanctuaries in the state are full, narrowing down the choice.

“None of us got into this profession with something like this in mind. You know, we were interested in conservation, ecology, management of wild populations of animals, and unfortunately, when you get in situations like this where you have a conflict with a predator in an urban area, your options get pretty limited pretty quickly,” said McDonald.

The mountain lion population in Idaho is currently "healthy" and "robust" according to IDFG. A reason for the uptick in encounters and sightings is due to the heavy winter, driving many elk and deer closer to residential life which is prey for mountain lions.

Another factor is the increased encroachment of human life in the Wood River Valley. The high number of people moving to the area leaves IDFG with few choices, as public safety is always their highest priority.

“It's kind of a perfect storm this year in a lot of ways, but it certainly isn't anything that's unusual. This has been an ongoing reoccurring theme in the Valley for at least the last four years,” said McDonald.

For more information on this decision, click here.