DINOSAUR I Staff at Dinosaur National Monument are reminding visitors that they are visiting mountain lion country when traveling in the monument, especially in the backcountry and along the river canyons.
On July 22, fresh evidence of an animal killed by a mountain lion was found in the Echo Park area. A 72-hour closure was placed on the area immediately around the kill site to minimize disturbance of the mountain lion as it fed. The closure has now been lifted.
Prior to this event, a visitor on a rafting trip on the Green River noticed a mountain lion watching him from a ledge above the Rippling Brook campsite.
Visitors are reminded that although mountain lions, also known as cougars and puma, are rare to see, all of Dinosaur National Monument is suitable habitat. Visitors should take appropriate precautions when recreating within the monument.
Wayne Prokopetz, chief of resource management at the monument, said, “As the higher elevation areas in the monument dry out, deer and elk will move to the river corridors to find better forage. Mountain lions will follow these animals since they are the lions’ preferred food source.”
“Due to the increase in sightings, we are stepping up our mountain lion safety education program,” Chief Ranger Lee Buschkowsky said. Hikers, boaters and campers are encouraged to be alert for their presence and report mountain lion sightings as soon as possible at a visitor center or ranger station.