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Mountain lion euthanized in the Wood River Valley

Posted at 5:39 PM, Mar 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-23 19:39:07-04

HAILEY, Idaho — On March 17, Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) had to euthanize a mountain lion found acting aggressively towards residents living in Hailey, Idaho.

The choice to end the large cat's life was only made after all other routes were exhausted.

Mountain lion populations are healthy in the Wood River Valley, so options like relocation were not available.

“Public safety is always a priority for us. Mountain lions in the state of Idaho and in the Wood River Valley are doing very well. Their population is not in any sort of jeopardy, so when people hear of relocation a lot of times that is reserved for animals that are threatened or endangered, you know things like grizzly,” said Robatcek.

Mountain lions are also very territorial and placing the cat in another spot could lead to either starvation or the fighting and killing of another lion competing for the domain.

Other options, like placing the animal in a zoo, failed because those locations are already at maximum capacity.

Lion relocation is a challenging decision due to the complexities of moving the species. “Our wildlife managers and regional supervisors come up with a hierarchical decision-making process to get us to the point where we are taking these last steps like euthanization,” said Sierra Robatcek, regional wildlife biologist for IDFG.

Since October 2022, over 85 spottings of mountain lions were reported to IDFG. The increase is likely due to a late winter that is pushing wildlife closer to residents for a longer period of time.

“This lion was living in super high-density housing area. It's just not a good place for a lion to be. We don't want to encourage lions to be living in and around high-density housing,” said Robatcek.

For more information on the decision, click here.