KETCHUM — State Fish and Game officers forced a large male mountain lion out of the backyard of a Ketchum home Thursday and again on Friday.
Officers used shotguns with non-lethal rubber slugs and buckshot to get the lion to leave the area. The lion had been repeatedly coming to rest in its “day bed” in a backyard in Ketchum’s south end.
“We want the lion to associate a negative and somewhat painful interaction if they choose to stay within our local communities among people and pets,” Regional Conservation Officer Josh Royse said Thursday in a statement. “We hope that by using non-lethal methods that we can move these urban mountain lions out into the mountains surrounding the Wood River Valley.”
The lion was first reported to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game on Wednesday. Officers monitored the lion and decided to force it to move after the lion remained near the home Thursday. Friday, residents informed officers that the lion was back. The officers again used rubber slugs and buckshot to scare the animal. It immediately ran, and one the area was clear, officers found a partially consumed elk calf in the lion’s bed. It appeared the lion had been feeding on it for several days. Officers removed the carcass, which will reduce the chance of the lion returning, the statement said.
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The relocation follows five mountain lion attacks against dogs in one week in December. Those attacks killed three dogs and injured the others. On Dec. 18, Fish and Game officers killed a lion involved in some of those attacks.
“We are concerned with what appears to be increasing situations of lions becoming less fearful of humans,” Royse said. “When lions don’t react as we would expect them to, there will be times we need to take actions like we did today.”
Residents are encouraged to report any sightings of mountain lions to the Magic Valley Regional Office at 208-324-4359, during normal business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Any incidents where a person must take action to cause the lion to flee or back down, and any attacks by mountain lions on pets or people, should be reported immediately to the Magic Valley Regional Office or the Blaine County Sheriff by calling 911 or 208-788-5555.