Woodland stream.

Mountain lion tragically killed for defending itself

A mountain lion was unfortunately shot and killed by a park ranger in the employee housing area of Glacier National Park in West Glacier Saturday evening.

The incident started around 5 p.m. when the two dogs of a returning park employee unexpectedly raced out of her car and attacked a mountain lion that was lingering nearby.

One of the dogs broke off the fight and quickly retreated back to its owner who had chased after her pets. The other dog however was unable or unwilling to retreat despite efforts from its owner and that of several other housing residents who heard the fight and tried to assist.

Bear spray and a shovel were used, and rocks and logs thrown in a futile effort to stop the fight but to no avail.

The two fighting animals eventually fell over an embankment where the mountain lion pinned the dog near the edge of the Flathead River.

At that point a park ranger arrived on scene and shot the lion. The released dog jumped into the river to escape the encounter where he was later rescued by the ranger with non-life threatening injuries.

Glacier National Park headquarters and its employee housing area had been previously posted with notices about mountain lions frequenting the employee area over the winter months. In addition, a mountain lion had been hazed earlier this winter after being observed in the employee housing area. It is undetermined at this time whether the hazed lion was the same animal involved in Saturday's incident.

Park rangers believe that additional lions may also be in the headquarters' developed area. The park will continue to implement management actions in the area as appropriate, including posting the area to lion frequenting, educational outreach to employees and visitors, area and/or trail closures, hazing and possible removal. These actions are consistent with park management plans.

More information about Protecting People, Pets and Livestock is available on our website, including tips for Staying Safe while Hiking and Biking in cougar country.



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