It’s like the age old question of “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” In this case, it’s more of “If humans aren’t around, how do wild animals spend their time?” The land is rife with natural beauty, from the cliffs above to the waterfall below. Plenty to choose from! Well, for one mountain lion in Evergreen Meadows, just West of Denver, Colorado, now we know.
This purrticular mountain lion chose a particularly gorgeous little waterfall to relax next to.
A nearby wildlife camera caught the unsuspecting feline. When local man Mike Moss shared the video, he knew how rare this site truly is. It was picked up by the news and shared this morning on FOX31 KDVR.com.
According to the Colorado Parks & Wildlife site:
Mountain lions are generally calm, quiet, and elusive. They tend to live in remote, primitive country with plentiful deer and adequate cover. Such conditions exist in mountain subdivisions, urban fringes, and open spaces. Recently, the number of mountain lion/human interactions has increased. This increase is likely due to a variety of reasons, such as:
- More people moving into lion habitat
- Increase in deer populations and density
- Presumed increase in lion numbers and expanded range
- More people using hiking and running trails in lion habitat
- A greater awareness of the presence of lions.
For people living in the mountainous lion regions, they need to be aware of the dangers and tips to share the land…and waterfall!…with it’s original inhabitants.
Colorado residents may have more encounters for a reason too. With the expansive landscape, there are an estimated 3,000-7,000 mountain lions living in the wild there. But when you have a sneaky, skilled predator like this, it’s almost impossible to locate them all for an accurate count.
Most recent data released by Colorado Parks and Wildlife indicates that there may be as many as 7,000 in Colorado. That’s more than 6 per 100 square miles making up nearly a quarter of the country’s lion population!
Despite the number of roaming big cats, it’s fairly rare to see them in the wild. And when this does occur, it’s likely because our human development is encroaching on their territory. Young cubs wander out in search of food and find more then they bargain for!
We’ve all see the rare stories of hikers having to fight off a cougar attack. Sadly, it’s usually neighborhood strays/feral animals, family pets outdoors and small children that become the focus for the feline when we’re not careful.
So what do you do if you happen upon one of these gorgeous and powerful creatures in the wild?
There are a few things you can do to increase your chances of escaping unscathed should you meet a mountain lion face-to-face.
- If you venture into their territory often, try to do it in large groups of people. Strength in numbers.
- DON’T FEED WILDLIFE NEAR YOUR HOME. This will also draw the predators of this prey, leading them right to you.
- Planting large shrubs and greenery provide cover for creeping animals. If you eliminate their hiding spots, they can’t stalk you…as easily.
- This also lends to the “appear larger” factor that can help deter animals from approaching. Raise your arms slowly to “grow” and stand as tall as possible.
- Keep those kids close, no wandering or exploring solo!
- DO NOT RUN. They will see this as prey running and take chase. You just started a game that will NOT end well for you.
- Surprisingly, use a calm, stern voice to talk to the animal. But do so as you move slowly away from the animal.
- If they do attack, legit fight back with all you have. The surprise of it may alone cause them to back off.
- DO NOT APPROACH them. I like to think this goes without saying, but, you know…humans.
Once you are at a safe distance, there are two important things to do.
- Contact the local animal authorities; park ranger, wildlife services or police department. They are trained to protect these animals and you.
- Then grab your phone/camera and TAKE TONS OF PHOTOS/VIDEO to share with the world!
These beautiful animals deserve to be seen in the wild where they belong, glistening waterfall or not!
As humans who have forced ourselves upon their native habitats, it’s our duty to respect that. And when we do, we are blessed with awesome videos like these.
HAVE YOU EVER WITNESSED BIG CATS IN THE WILD? LET US KNOW!
For more information or to help join the fight to protect these animals, please visit mountainlion.org.
Based on the best available data at this time, Mountain Lion Foundation believes the mountain lion population in the United States is unlikely to exceed 30,000.
And, many of those lions depend upon severely fragmented and degraded habitat, are in severe danger of over-hunting and road kill, are imperiled by intolerance of their presence on the landscape, and are so few and unconnected they are on the edge of genetic viability.
REMEMBER: BIG CATS DON’T MAKE GOOD PETS; THEY BELONG IN THE WILD!