This week, news reports of a mountain lion "attack" or "mauling" have flooded both Utah and national newspapers. Fortunately, Erin Alberty of the Salt Lake Tribune has reported the facts rather than a sensationalized story about dangerous wildlife on the loose (like many other papers have chosen to publish). According to her report, last Friday, a man working on his fence turned around to find a curious mountain lion watching him. Startled, the man began to kick at the lion. Wildlife officers say the lion "felt threatened" and swatted a paw at the man's leg. His next kick hit the mountain lion in the mouth and one of the cat's teeth cut his toe through his sandal--this being the "mauling" many papers are referring to. The hit to the face was enough to convince the lion to turn and flee, and the man even chased after the cat, scaring it off farther.
Unfortunately, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources considers this the behavior of a "high-risk animal." If found, the lion will be killed. This cat may very well have learned to stay away from people, and killing it will only open the territory for another curious dispersing cat to wander in... continuing the cycle of killing wildlife. The truth is, lions pass through our towns from time to time but this does not constitute a safety threat or warrant the death of the animal. Seeing that human-areas are not good territory is part of learning how to be a good lion and avoiding people. Killing every lion that turns up in a residential area only invites in more lions. Utah residents deserve safer and more humane wildlife management than that. Comment on this Article