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Horsetooth Reservoir trail reopens following recent mountain lion attack

The trail runner who strangled the mountain lion to death during the attack prompted Colorado Parks and Wildlife to conduct an investigation. Big cat activity is being monitored on the trails.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife has reopened Horsetooth Mountain Open Space trails following a mountain lion attack on a trail runner last week. 

The trail runner killed the mountain lion during the attack in self-defense and is recovering well, according to CPW.

Horsetooth Mountain and Soderberg trailheads were closed Feb. 5, as public safety was a concern. Larimer County rangers, as well as state wildlife officers, have been investigating the situation. Cameras on Feb. 6 were placed where the incident occurred to further observe mountain lion activity in the area.

RELATED: 'A fight for survival': Trail runner kills mountain lion that attacked him

Over the weekend, the trailhead cameras captured two juvenile mountain lions at the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. Wildlife officers will be moving the two mountain lions to a rehabilitation facility. The lions will eventually be released back into the wild, but that date has not been determined. A full report will be released on Feb. 14, CPW said.

“We have removed additional lions that we believe are siblings of the lion involved in last Monday's attack,” said Mark Leslie, northeast region manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “The Front Range of Colorado plays home to many of Colorado’s wildlife and we have an expanding urban interface and increased recreation pressure. The interaction between wildlife and people is going to increase and we need to find a way to balance the needs of people and the needs of wildlife.”

After the initial assessments, Larimer County decided to reopen the trail. However, this does not guarantee there are no longer any mountain lions in the area.

“While it’s located close to urban areas, Horsetooth Mountain Open Space is a wild place that supports many different animals," said Steve Gibson, district manager for Larimer County Department of Natural Resources. "There will always be a chance to encounter wildlife on the property, including normally elusive mountain lions.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience while we completed the assessment of mountain lion activity,” Gibson added. “The safety of our visitors will always be a top priority.”

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