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DOW elaborates on Mountain Lion sightings

by Carol Dunn

WALSENBURG- There have been some rumors and concerns recently about mountain lion sightings in the area, so the World Journal checked in with Lance Gatlin, District Wildlife Manager with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, to get the details.

 According to Gatlin, there were several calls earlier this spring about mountain lion sightings, and there were efforts to haze, or disturb the animal’s sense of security so it would move away from residential areas of Walsenburg.  Mountain lions are solitary animals, and Gatlin said a lion typically has a large range, from 80-100 square miles – nine or ten miles in each direction.  He said a lion will key in on a food source in their territory, make a kill, feed for about a week, then start looking for other prey.  He said no pets have been reported missing, and no other sightings have been reported, so it is assumed that the lion sighted in the spring has moved on. 

    Bret Corsentino, Corsentino Dairy, had reported a calf killed by a lion east of Walsenburg, presuming it was the lion he had seen near the dairy a week before.  However, when Gatlin and Corsentino examined the carcass, there was no evidence of trauma, either by a bear or lion, so Gatlin deduced that the calf died of unknown causes.  The World Journal was unable to reach Corsentino by phone before press time. 

    Gatlin also said that rumors that a mountain lion was hit and killed near Family Dollar are unfounded, although a deer was recently hit and killed there. 

    According to the Division of Wildlife and many other sources, mountain lion attacks on people are rare.  Backwoods Home Magazine reports there have been 50 attacks recorded in the past 100 years.  However, when you are outdoors, especially alone, Gatlin advises, “It’s a good idea to pay attention.  Make noise, especially between dusk and dawn. That is when mountain lions are most active.”

    If you have sighted a mountain lion and are concerned about it, or if you observe any animal with weird or threatening behavior, you can contact Gatlin at (719) 989-1027.