Apr 26, 2017 - By Andrea Novotny, Staff WriterA mountain lion that was spotted Monday in Riverton was shot to death Wednesday after being sighted again near homes around Jackson Elementary school.
Brian DeBolt, large carnivore conflict coordinator with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, said the decision was made for the sake of human safety.
"It's just an extremely unsafe situation," he said. "Although mountain lion attacks are very rare, this is the type of lion that eventually comes into close contact with people."
Tieler Kobbe located the animal under the deck of a residence on North Ninth Street at Northpointe Circle. She said she and the lion were face-to-face about 10 feet from one another.
"I let my dogs out, and the one started freaking out," Kobbe said. "I was trying to tell her to stop, so I went and got on my hands and knees and looked down there and saw (the mountain lion's) face, and so I just ran inside. My phone was dead, so I ran across the street to call the police."
The body of the animal, which DeBolt described as a "relatively skinny" female probably two to three years old, will be sent to a lab in Laramie for testing to determine whether there were any health-related reasons that it was in such an unnatural location.
"This lion has been located in the city of Riverton multiple times - and during the middle of the day. That's extremely unusual behavior," DeBolt said. "Mountain lions are typically shy of people. The fact that it was so bold was cause for concern."
DeBolt said other factors in the department's decision to shoot the animal on site included the amount of time it takes for tranquilizers to take effect, and the number of people who were present at the scene Wednesday.
"A half-drugged critter has potentially 5-10 minutes to run around," he said.
"This is a situation that warranted not taking that chance."
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