CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) euthanized a small mountain lion that attacked an 11-year-old girl Wednesday.
CPW said the girl was attacked when she went into her family's chicken coop to check on her chickens, finding one dead on the ground. When she opened the door, the mountain lion was inside and swatted her in the face.
Wildlife officers responded to the house near Buena Vista to find the small, sub-adult mountain lion still in the wire mesh coop.
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Officers quickly euthanized the animal and sent its remains to a CPW animal health lab in Fort Collins for examination. It was a young female that weighed about 30 pounds and appeared to be in good bodily condition, CPW said.
The girl was treated for a small puncture wound to her cheek and released from the hospital.
“This was a small mountain lion probably just looking for an easy meal in the chicken coop,” said Sean Shepherd, area wildlife manager based in Salida. “The victim likely surprised the lion. It probably felt threatened, and it swatted at her as she entered.”
CPW said it takes mountain lion attacks very seriously.
“Mountain lion attacks are rare, but we can’t take any chances when any predator makes contact with a human,” Shepherd said. “And we need to know if there was anything else going on with this lion, such as rabies, highly pathogenic Avian Influenza or some other infection that may have influenced its behavior. So it must be euthanized and tested.”
CPW encourages residents to report mountain lion sightings or activity near their homes by calling their local CPW office or by calling Colorado State Patrol after business hours at 303-239-4500.
This is the 25th known attack of a mountain lion causing injury to a human in Colorado since 1990. Three attacks in Colorado since 1990 have resulted in human deaths.
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