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Mountain lion on the prowl in Boise…

Boise Police and Fish & Game officials are on the lookout for a mountain lion that's been sighted repeatedly in town; people are being asked to call city police immediately if they spot the big cat, a 70-pound juvenile male. The mountain lion is apparently making its way in leisurely fashion from the Warm Springs Mesa area, where it feasted on a deer carcass in a resident's front yard on Friday night, down toward the Boise River Greenbelt - it was seen crossing Warm Springs Avenue and hitting the Greenbelt on Saturday night about 11:30. Then, early this morning, two reports came in of a mountain lion on the Whole Foods construction site near Broadway and Myrtle, followed by a report of the cat running east on the Greenbelt near Bronco Stadium.

“Chances are that cat probably either left the area or is bedded down 'til nighttime - they're nocturnal,” said Idaho Fish & Game spokesman Mike Keckler. “It might have just wandered down and wandered back where it came from.”

Keckler said the initial sighting came when the neighbor spotted a deer carcass, and then noticed a bit later that it had moved about 20 feet. “It was a mountain lion kill,” Keckler said. “Apparently the lion had dragged this carcass back and was feeding on it in a flower garden. When we got up there, the lion was gone. They waited and waited and waited and it didn't come back, so they removed the carcass.”

Mountain lion sightings aren't uncommon in Boise, Keckler said. “We live in prime mountain lion habitat here. The Boise Front is right here next to us, so it's not uncommon at all.” Wildlife including big cats tend to follow the river through the area, he said, which provides lots of cover along with attractive food, from deer to mice. “They'll eat house cats, they'll eat raccoons, they'll eat anything they can get their teeth into,” he said. Best case, he said, the big cat's already left town on its own, “because once they get a taste for hanging around town and they're finding food sources here, chances are it cannot be relocated.”


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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