This New Year's weekend, a Salt Lake City family got a rare chance to not only see a mountain lion up close, they also got to see Utah Division of Wildlife Resources(UDWR) wardens take the rare, but correct step of helping a young mountain lion.
The Stringhams were vacationing at a friend's cabin near Bear Lake, which is located in the upper Northeastern corner of the state, when someone noticed something hiding under the cabin porch. A quick check with flashlights highlighted the dark figure of a lion with glowing eyes and authorities were notified.
When the responding UDWR wardens arrived on scene they found the lion still hiding under the porch. After determining that it wasn't a life-threatening situation the wardens decided to take the steps necessary to capture the animal.
It took several tranquilizer darts to eventually subdue the scared lion, but when it was finally dragged from its hiding space and evaluated, the lion (sex undetermined) turned out to be 2 to 3-years old and weighing approximately 130 pounds.
After letting the children photograph and pet the drugged lion, the wardens proceeded to attach an identification ear tag and drive it to a remote location where it was release back into the wild where hopefully it might also survive this year's hunting season.
To encourage Utah DWR to continue to handle mountain lion encounters with non-lethal force, please consider sending a brief thank you email to the department: DWRcomment@utah.gov