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Residents spot mountain lion

Courtesy of Dan Osby

This picture, taken about 8:10 a.m. Thursday in the backyard of a home on Delwood Place in the Crestview neighborhood, captures a wandering mountain lion believed to be a juvenile about 2 or 3 years old. It had been in several backyards of homes on the cul-de-sac before settling in this tree.

By Dale Rodebaugh
Herald Staff Writer

A young mountain lion had dogs in a frenzy early Thursday on Delwood Place, a cul-de-sac in the Crestview neighborhood, as it prowled from yard to yard.

The racket started around 6 a.m., said Dan Osby, a business technology consultant, who lives in the cul-de-sac.

Squawking crows later marked the location of the cat in the neighborhood, Osby said.

Osby took a photo of the cat at 8:10 a.m. when he took his children to school.

“I was about 5 feet from the tree,” Osby said. “He could have jumped on me.”

Steve McClung, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer, arrived just after the cougar abandoned the tree.

“We had several calls about a cat,” McClung said. “Callers weren’t certain what they were seeing, whether a mountain lion, a lynx or a bobcat.”

McClung identified the intruder from Osby’s photo. He guessed its age at 2 to 3 years, judging from the size of the head in relation to the tree branches.

Had he seen the teeth, the color or the amount of wear could have provided a better clue as to age, McClung said.

“I looked in trees and under shrubs, but the trail had gone cold,” McClung said. “No dogs or crows were making noise, so the lion must have moved on or was holed up somewhere.”

It wouldn’t be unusual to see a mountain lion in Crestview, McClung said. It’s near open space, so it could have been following deer.

Parks and Wildlife spokesman Joe Lewandowski said people should not be overly concerned about the big cats, but they should exercise caution.

“Attacks on people are extremely rare,’ Lewandowski said. “Mountain lions like things with four legs.

“But mountain lions are wildlife and therefore unpredictable,” he said. “Keep your distance, and if you come onto one unexpectedly, back away, don’t run.”

Children should be taught how to behave in such cases, he said.

daler@durangoherald.com

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