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Dolores couple alert community to visiting mountain lion

Mountain lions roam among us
A mountain lion was captured on a security camera wandering through a backyard in Dolores Sunday night.

A security camera captured video of a mountain lion passing through a residential backyard in Dolores Sunday night.

The home on Short Street backs up to open space at the base of Granath Mesa.

It was “a surprise and a bit disconcerting to see,” said homeowner Jack Stuart after he and his wife, Wende, reviewed the footage. “We keep a lookout now.”

The Stuarts contacted neighbors, the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office and the nearby Dolores School so they were aware. They also informed Colorado Parks and Wildlife of the sighting.

Dolores is surrounded by ideal lion habitat, so it is not unusual that they occasionally wander through town, said CPW spokesman Joe Lewandowski.

Mountain lions mostly hunt at night, and their main prey is deer and elk, but they will take smaller animals such as raccoons, rabbits and squirrels. They roam the canyons and rest in cliff-side caves in the natural areas around town. In September, a man took a video of a lion swimming across McPhee Reservoir.

Mountain lions are curious but don’t see humans as prey, and attacks are exceedingly rare, Lewandowski said.

“People are not at risk,” he said.

No action is taken by CPW unless the lion appears to be overly used to people or is persistently preying on livestock.

If you encounter a mountain lion, make yourself look large, yell sternly and slowly back away. Throw something at the animal. Do not run, as that could trigger a chase response.

Keep pets in at night. Chickens and hobby stock, such as goats, should be kept in a secure enclosed area and not allowed to roam freely.

Do not feed deer, as mountain lions are very stealthy and will take notice of them lingering in your yard. They will act defensively to protect their cubs and or a recent kill, so never move closer to get a better look.

“With all of the security cameras nowadays, wildlife is being seen more and more,” Lewandowski said. “Living with wildlife is why we love Colorado.”

Stuart said his cameras have captured black bears as well in the yard.

“We have the cameras for security, and all we ever see is wildlife!” he said.

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