The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is advising pet owners to take precautions after a mountain lion was observed near the Ketchum dog park over the Fourth of July weekend.
The lion did not pose a threat to people in the area, according to the department. A resident elk herd grazing near the park may have attracted the animal, said regional Fish and Game spokesman Terry Thompson.
“That said, the Warm Springs area is nestled well within mountain lion habitat, so seeing lions in this area is not unexpected,” he said in a Monday interview.
Thompson said a local deputy initially observed the lion bedding down in the shade near the dog park, showing no signs of aggression.
“Later our officer, along with the deputy, walked into the area where the lion was last observed and actually watched the lion leave the area into the forested hillside,” he said.
Thompson said the public should be aware that daytime mountain lion encounters in the Wood River Valley are possible year-round, not just in the winter.
“We will continue to urge residents to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings when they are recreating throughout the Wood River Valley,” he said.
The department is also advising pet owners to check their yards before letting their dogs or cats out and leash dogs whenever possible.
“We realize that the dog park is an area where folks like to let their dogs run off-leash,” Thompson said, “but there will always be the potential of a conflict if an unleashed dog [has] an unexpected encounter with a mountain lion, or any wildlife for that matter.”