May 25, 2023
PRESCOTT, Ariz. – Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) wildlife officers have lethally removed three mountain lions in a northwest Prescott neighborhood after a resident reported Sunday that a mountain lion attacked his dog and that an accompanying mountain lion acted aggressively toward him.
The mountain lions were part of a group of four that have been seen in Prescott over the past few weeks and are believed to be responsible for killing several pet dogs. The fact that they continue to be seen in proximity to homes and people, appear to be less fearful of people, and have recently been observed exhibiting aggressive or unacceptable behavior toward people, have categorized them as a public safety threat.
The mountain lion that was killed on Sunday was estimated to be a 3- to 5-year-old adult female. The two other mountain lions, one killed Tuesday and one on Wednesday, may be adult-sized offspring.
AZGFD officers continue to search for a fourth mountain lion in case it is remaining near areas of human development.
In situations such as these, wildlife officers are guided by the department’s human-wildlife conflicts policy which describes acceptable or unacceptable wildlife behaviors and the appropriate responses. Because the behavior exhibited by these mountain lions was deemed unacceptable and posed a public safety threat, relocation was not an option and the animals were lethally removed.
Mountain lions have extensive ranges, and once they’ve adopted unacceptable behaviors toward humans, relocation would just move the problem to a different area and be a threat to other communities or areas of human development and activity.
“These are never easy decisions on our part,” said Karen Klima, Kingman Regional Supervisor. “As wildlife biologists, we dedicate our careers to managing for healthy and robust wildlife populations, and the last thing we want to do is put an animal down. But public safety is our top priority, and this situation had risen to a level where there was a risk to the community and we had to act.”
Earlier this year a mountain lion approached and attacked a man who was camped along the Salt River in Gila County. Mountain lions are predators, and when acting aggressively toward humans can attack, injure and even kill.
Prescott residents who observe a mountain lion exhibiting lack of fear or aggressiveness toward humans are encouraged to contact Arizona Game and Fish Department dispatch at 623-236-7201. (24/7) Wildlife officers remain in the area to ensure the public’s safety.
For tips on avoiding conflicts with mountain lions or on what to do if you encounter a mountain lion, visit www.azgfd.gov/urbanwildlife.