by Lisa Crockett
Castle Pines North (CPN) and the thousands of acres of open space surrounding the community are home to nearly 10,000 people, a varied collection of pets, countless deer, elk, rabbits, raccoons and the predators that prey on these creatures. While mountain lions are generally elusive animals which typically avoid human contact, CPN is in a location where wilderness and residential development meet.
Last year, several CPN residents spotted mountain lions in area neighborhoods. Here are some tips for avoiding encounters and preventing a tragedy.
Tips for Living in Lion Country
Make a lot of noise during times mountain lions are most active – dusk to dawn.
Install outside lighting around sidewalks and other walkways.
Closely supervise children whenever they play outdoors. Keep children inside after dusk. Educate children on what to do if they meet a lion.
Make it difficult for lions to approach unseen. Landscape or remove vegetation to eliminate hiding places for lions, especially around children’s play areas.
Do not feed any wildlife! Avoid planting non-native shrubs and plants that deer often prefer to eat. These forms of plant life encourage deer to come onto the property. Predators follow prey.
Keep pets under control. Roaming pets are easy prey and can attract lions. Bring pets in at night. If pets are left outside, keep them in a kennel with a secure top.
Store all garbage cans securely.
Know What to do When Meeting a Lion
Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a chance to escape.
Stay calm. Talk calmly yet firmly to the lion. Move slowly.
Stop or back away slowly, if this can be done safely. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.
Do everything possible to appear larger. Raise up arms or open a jacket. If small children are present, pick them up so they will not panic and run.
If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever is available without crouching down or turning around. Wave arms slowly and speak firmly.
Fight back if a lion attacks. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools, and bare hands successfully. Remain standing or try to get back up.
Who to Call
Should an encounter with a lion or an attack occur, immediately contact the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Colorado’s Northeast Region Service Center can be reached at 303-291-7227. After hours, contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. If it is a life threatening situation call 911; all other calls can be made to 303-660-7500. Please also alert the CPN Master Association at 303-482-3078 or e-mail email@example.com so that community e-mail alerts can be distributed as quickly as possible.
To learn more about the wildlife in and surrounding CPN visit www.cpnhoa.org, click on “Features” and then “Wildlife”. To learn more about Colorado wildlife visit www.wildlife.state.co.us, click on “Wildlife Species.”