According to Fish, Wildlife and Parks Specialist Bob Wiesner, September and October are the biggest months for mountain lion sightings. In his radio interview on Monday, October 14th, Bob explains that with the sightings come some potential conflicts. KPAX news has also been following this story, for late breaking events please visit KPAX.com
Obviously the biggest concern is with human safety issues. Three potentially dangerous mountain lions were spotted just two blocks from Cold Springs Elementary School in Missoula on Sunday. In his interview FWP Specialist Bob Wiesner said “Unfortunately, I didn’t get the message until Monday morning, so I went to that area so if the lions resurfaced I would be there with the dogs and could hopefully tree the lions, and we would do a lethal removal,” Wiesner said. “We don’t translocate lions because it simply doesn’t work that well so we actually euthanize the lions that come near homes in the Missoula area. That happens about three times a year, and that’s what we’re dealing with here" He also said that he then went around searching for the lions potential hideouts. Bob explains that in the outlying areas where they have been spotted, the terrain offers the most ideal living conditions for the animals; food, water and covering.
According to Bob, with the Government shutdown, FWP has stepped in to take the place of Wildlife Services which means they are having to deal with mountain lions and livestock issues. Several mountain lions have already been fatally wounded and removed from the area. But suddenly more calls have been received from concerned residents in the same vicinities.
These sightings come on the heals of a sighting on Garrett Street, in an area near Meadow Hill Middle School and Cold Springs Elementary School on Friday, September 27th.
FWP also has many tips on how to remain safe during this peak season of mountain lion activity.
1) Limit outdoor activity during dawn and dusk time frames.
2) Accompany children to and from bus stops
3) If you do sight a lion, remain calm, talk loudly, do not approach and walk backwards slowly while maintaining eye contact.
4) Report the sighting immediately to public safety officials.
More mountain lion safety tips can be found at the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Website.
FWP and Missoula County Public Schools is asking that all sightings be reported immediately to (406) 240.3296 so the situation can be handled quickly.