Researchers trap four mountain lions | SummitDaily.com
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Researchers trap four mountain lions

JANE STEBBINSsummit daily news
Special to the Daily/Ken Logan/DOW This male mountain lion was captured on Jan. 28 in southwestern Colorado. The Colorado Division of Wildlife has started a study to gain more insight into the state's native big cats, their hunting habits and habitats.
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A Colorado Division of Wildlife team has captured four mountain lions in hopes of better understanding their movements, breeding and eating habits near the Uncompahgre Plateau in southwestern Colorado.According to Ken Logan, a nationally acclaimed puma researcher hired to conduct the study, the Division of Wildlife (DOW) wants better understanding of how to manage mountain lions with development in Colorado on the rise.

The four lions the team captured include a 3-year-old male estimated to weigh 150 pounds, a 4-year-old 95-pound female, a 143-pound male and an 88-pound female. Mountain lions are Colorado’s largest cat, and adult lions are more than 6-feet long with a graceful, black-tipped tail.By collaring the animals, researchers hope to track them over the next decade, monitoring their whereabouts to better evaluate their long-term management, including lion hunting, human safety and damage to domestic animals.Mountain lions are becoming increasingly brave, particularly on the Front Range where they are spotted in neighborhood trees and backyards.

Summit County is believed to be home to at least two mountain lions, which are also known as pumas, catmounts or cougars: one ventured close to humans on Ute Pass in the northern part of the county and another is reported to live in the south end of the county.Jim Nicholas, who lives on Ute Pass, encountered one he said tried to enter his home last August. Nearby, Christy and Kyle Sterling were house-sitting a home when they saw a mountain lion crouched in the grass.Nicholas said he’s seen mountain lions near the Blue River Campground, on the highway near the campground and on Ute Pass Road, but never near his house. Ranch hands also reported two juvenile mountain lions last August on Darby Road and another on Elk Run Road.

For more information about the DOW, visit wildlife.state.co.us.Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or at jstebbins@summitdaily.com.


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