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Mountain lion reports increasing near Wood River Valley due to heavy snow

The Idaho Fish and Game said residents have reported mountain lion tracks from Bellevue to Ketchum and the remains of lion kills were found in locations near Hailey.

KETCHUM, Idaho — The Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) has received an increased amount of mountain lion reports in southcentral Idaho since early December due to heavy snowfall in the area. 

According to an IDFG press release, cached prey - or hidden remains - from mountain lion kills were found in locations north of Hailey. IDFG has also received reports of mountain lion tracks around homes from residents from Bellevue to Ketchum. 

A large male mountain lion was spotted with a cached elk carcass in Ketchum and IDFG also reported a female lion near a cached elk carcass south of Ketchum. 

Although mountain lions are spotted throughout the year in the Gem State, IDFG said these sightings "do tend to increase during the winter months due to fresh snow making their tracks more visible, along with increased numbers of deer and elk moving onto their winter ranges, which are often in close proximity to local communities."

IDFG said there has not been any reports of mountain lion attacks on people, but the agency did remind the public to be aware of the increased report. Mountain lions tend to be more active early in the morning and during evening hours, according to IDFG. 

Mountain lions are presumably responsible for injuries and deaths of livestock and pets reported across the past few months, according to IDFG. Fish and game has also received multiple reports of pets disappearing from their residencies in the area. 

“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” Regional Conservation Officer Clint Rogers said. “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.”  

IDFG said residents across the Magic Valley should immediately report any wildlife incident or attack to the Magic Valley Regional Office or to your local law enforcement agency. Mountain lion sightings and encounters should be reported to Fish and Game by calling the Magic Valley Regional Office.

Fish and game reminds the public that describing the situation involving a mountain lion is important. IDFG defines a 'sighting' as a reported observation, an 'encounter' as an unexpected meeting between a human and wildlife without an incident, an 'incident' as an interaction that causes a human to force the wildlife to flee with action, and an 'attack' as a human injured or killed by wildlife. 

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