KETCHUM, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) The city of Ketchum and the Idaho Fish and Game Office are working together to keep residents safe following an increase of mountain lions in the Wood River Valley this season.
The city of Ketchum and the Idaho Fish and Game Office are working together to keep residents safe following an increase of mountain lions in the Wood River Valley this season. (Source: KMVT/KSVT)
Mountain lions in the Wood River Valley is nothing new according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. What is new is the number of them.
“Since August 1 2019, until this morning, we’ve had 43 different sightings or incidents involving mountain lions just in the Wood River Valley,” said regional wildlife manager Mike McDonald.
McDonald spoke during Ketchum's Monday night City Council meeting. He says that normally mountain lions don’t cause issues until the end of January, while this season it was beginning of December.
“In a specific case in Warm Springs, a lion did attack and kill two dogs, it was located and was euthanized,” McDonald said.
As a resident of the Wood River Valley, there are a few things people can do. The first is to keep pets on a leash.
“Don’t feed your pet outside, if you do feed your pet outside, don’t leave their dishes and that kind of thing outside,” said Terry Thompson, the regional communications manager.
And while mountain lions are nocturnal by nature, the Idaho Fish and Game is tracking more and more lions out during the day.
“We have a number of reports now of cats being active during the day, which is also an area that is some cause of concern,” McDonald said.
The officers say that the main cause for concern is the cats are no longer showing fear of humans, and have no problem getting close to their homes or cars.
“We are evaluating options, and we would like to try hazing,” the Regional Supervisor said. "One of those hazing methods would be rubber buckshot, wouldn’t harm the cat, but it would give them a negative reaction, problem is there is a city ordinance against discharge of firearms, so it’s going to have to be our conservation officers or the city police doing that," said Craig White, the regional supervisor.
The public is asked to call to the Magic Valley Regional Office if they see a mountain lion at 208-324-4359. Reports can also be made to the Blaine County Sheriff at 208-878-5555.
Observations of a mountain lion in the area should also be reported to the Fish and Game, Magic Valley Regional Office.