Kitty takes a nice nap

A crowd of a few dozen people gathered Friday to watch this girl sleep in a tree in Bayfield town limits. Enlargephoto

PHOTO BY DENISE HESS

A crowd of a few dozen people gathered Friday to watch this girl sleep in a tree in Bayfield town limits.

This mountain lion apparently was unperturbed by all the commotion she caused in a yard on Bayfield Parkway on Friday, June 27. She fell asleep. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers tranquilized the snoozing cat and relocated her out of town.

Parks and Wildlife spokesman Joe Lewandowski told the Times there was a chicken coop nearby, and that could be what attracted the lion. It was a young female, about 50 pounds, maybe a year old. That's about when young lions are forced out on their own to find food.

"They are looking for anything they can eat," he said.

Mainly that's deer and elk. To protect small domestic livestock, outside dogs and cats, Lewandowski recommends full enclosures, including the top.

"Attacks on humans are exceedingly rare," he said. People look strange to a lion compared to four-legged prey. "Most of the time, they are looking for the type of prey they are used to catching."

Some people claim the lion population has increased greatly over the past few years, and some say it has decreased, Lewandowski said. There's really no way to tell, he said, since lions are solitary and come out mainly at night. He estimated the statewide population might be 6,000 to 8,000. He called that an "educated guess."

Then there's the matter of bears. He noted this is the time people start seeing them. He urges people to keep food garbage secure in a shed or garage until the day of pick-up. He suggests putting things like meat and bone garbage in the freezer until collection day to reduce smells.

Don't leave pet food or even empty bowls outside at night. Bird feeders are a major source of bear problems, Lewandowski said. He recommends against summer bird feeders. The birds don't need them at this time of year.

"We put down a lot of bears because of bird feeders," he said.