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Dog chases mountain lion up tree in Idaho neighborhood. ‘Wrong place at the wrong time’

A dog chased a mountain lion up a tree after the lion wandered into a neighborhood in eastern Idaho, officials said.

The dog’s owner reported the March 30 sighting to Idaho Fish and Game, and because it was so close to Woodland Hills Elementary in Ammon near Idaho Falls, “the school was put on alert,” officials said in a news release.

But the mountain lion wasn’t aggressive, and officials didn’t think she had attacked any pets, so they tranquilized her and plan to relocate her, officials said.

That isn’t always an option for adult mountain lions, according to the release. But given the circumstances, this one qualified.

“This lion appears to be healthy and was not known to be aggressive,” Wildlife Manager Curtis Hendricks said in the release. “Given that this was the first report, it did not seem to have been frequenting the area and likely just ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Officials plan to release her in a remote area away from humans, the release said.

Mountain lion sightings don’t always have such happy endings, especially in areas with brutal winters and heavy snow, where hungry mountain lions have attacked pets and even people in rare cases.

“They are hungry! It’s been a long winter,” someone commented on a post Idaho Fish and Game Upper Snake Region shared to Facebook.

Someone shared that this mountain lion had walked through livestock with new calves and left them alone.

“Didn’t even care about them. Looked very healthy also,” they said.

If you’re within sight of a mountain lion, remember these tips:

  • “NEVER run away from a mountain lion,” the release says. It’s their instinct to chase and catch whatever they think may be prey.

  • Don’t turn your back on them, either. Instead, face them while making yourself appear as large as possible. You can yell at them loudly, but do not scream as the higher pitch can sound like a wounded animal.

  • Back away slowly while maintaining eye contact.

  • It’s a good idea to have safety equipment handy to haze the lion, such as bear spray, a bright flashlight and something to make noise, like an air horn.

  • In the event a lion does attack, it’s best to fight back.

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