Mountain Lion, 2 Cubs Captured In Golden Neighborhood

Mama Cougar, Cubs Relocated In Wilderness

Wildlife officers tranquilized and relocated a mother mountain lion and two cubs Sunday that had become too comfortable living in a Golden neighborhood.

Wildlife officers were called to the Mesa Meadows subdivision Sunday morning after a resident reported the cubs were underneath her house porch off Ridge Road on the northeast edge of Golden, said Jerrie McKee, a district officer for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

The mother cat had been in the area for more than a year and researchers had tracked her with a radio collar as part of a study to determine the size of the lion's range and its behavior in the urban-wilderness interface, McKee said. But the collar transmitter had died.

"Although we know mountain lions are common to Golden, this mother lion and her cubs continued to be in yards too often," she said.

"The reality now is those cubs are probably four or five months old. And the mother has to hide them while she goes out and hunts," McKee said. "And she keeps hiding them under porches and in places where people are encountering them quite often."

As fascinated residents watched, wildlife officers first tranquilized the mother cat about midday, then darted a cub that climbed a tree, resident Anne Stone told TheDenverChannel.com.

Officers appeared to dart the second cub, but it scampered up into the North Table Mountain area, where it was later captured, Stone said.

McKee said the mother and cubs were released in a wilderness area.

"It was beautiful," Stone said of the experience. "Some neighborhood kids got to touch the (tranquilized) little cub."

"I wasn't going to sleep until that second little cub got back home," she said.

She praised DOW officers' patience with curious, excited residents. "They were so willing to explain what they were doing and why they were doing it."

Stone said residents occasionally saw the lions and "we'd find deer parts in the gulches," where the cats were feeding.

DOW spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said: "We were hoping that (the lions) would move on on their own, but they just weren't getting out of town."

"They were pretty comfortable out there. They were not really getting into any trouble, which is great," Churchill said. "But obviously we don't want lions to make a habit of making their homes so close to people and getting in trouble with pets. We want them to be out in the wild and going after deer."