More Snow, More Sightings of Mountain Lions in Wood River Valley
HAILEY, Idaho (KLIX)-As more snow falls in the Wood River Valley the number of reports of mountain lion sightings have increased. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game said it has gotten more reports from people seeing the big cats roaming residential areas in the valley areas. Officials say this is typical when the snow gets heavier in the higher elevations and the mountain lion's food source, deer and elk, begin to migrate to the lower valleys. People have been reporting they've seen tracks around their properties from Bellevue to Ketchum, while killed prey from the lions has been found north of Hailey. “We continue to encourage residents to notify our office if they observe a lion or see tracks around their homes, or if they come across cached prey” stated Regional Conservation Officer Clint Rogers, in a prepared statement, “our officers are always willing to work with local residents to make sure that they and their pets stay safe. Our goal is not to remove predators like mountain lions from the landscape, but instead to encourage them to continue to live in natural habitats, outside of our communities. Fish and Game will try to haze a lion if possible, only resorting to lethal removal if an individual has become aggressive when living among people and is determined to be a threat to public safety.” Idaho Fish and Game officials said so far, there have not been any reports of attacks on people but, they encourage people to be safe and vigilant. Mountain lions in the past have attacked and killed pets and livestock in the area. Idaho Fish and Game said they've gotten many reports of pets going missing, possibly because they've been attacked by a mountain lion. A special website was created with information about how to stay safe in areas with wild animals, www.wrvwildlifesmart.org.