The male lion, estimated to be about a year old and weighing over 100 pounds, sat perched in a tree for several hours while interested students gathered nearby to catch a rare glimpse of the animal many describe as the "Spirit of the Rockies."
"I just thought it was a stuffed cat in the tree that somebody had made but then when I turned it actually followed my gaze," said CU-Boulder housekeeper Tahnja Fernandez, who first spotted the lion.
"The lion to me looked kind of frightened," volunteered Hannah Butler, a CU-Boulder freshman. "It was up there kind of curled up in a ball."
"When they get kicked out of being raised by their mother, they tend to move very far and wide, actually looking for new territory."
Colorado Division of Wildlife, which is currently conducting a lion study, had planned to place a GPS collar on the young lion but decided against it because of his age.