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Juvenile mountain lion euthanized after killing domestic goat near Bellevue

Fish and Game officers from the Magic Valley Region were contacted on June 12 after a domestic goat was found killed and cached by a mountain lion near a residence south of Bellevue. The owners of the residence raise livestock on their property, and the goat was found cached in one of their outbuildings.

Following the report, Fish and Game officials made the decision to deploy a trap for the lion because it had preyed on livestock in proximity to a residential area.

The area where the attack occurred has had several mountain lion sightings and at least one encounter with a resident over the last several months.

On the evening of June 12, a mountain lion trap was deployed at the location where the goat was found.

Early on the morning of June 13, a juvenile male mountain lion, estimated to be 18 months old and independent of a female lion, was trapped and then euthanized by Fish and Game officers.

“We’ve been learning from other states and Canadian provinces that juvenile or sub-adult mountain lions are more commonly involved in human-wildlife conflicts.” according to Regional Wildlife Manager Mike McDonald. “Based on anecdotal information we’ve gained from the number of reports and sightings throughout the Wood River Valley we suspect we have a healthy population of juvenile lions throughout the area.”

Since January 1, 2023, The Magic Valley Region has recorded nearly 60 reports of lions, primarily in Hailey and Bellevue.” 

While the majority of the mountain lion reports have been in the winter, there continues to be reports of lions in Hailey and Bellevue. 

If a person encounters a lion, they should remember these safety tips:

  • NEVER run away from a mountain lion. The lion’s instinct is to chase and ultimately catch what they perceive as a potential prey.
  • NEVER turn your back on a lion. Always face them while making yourself look as large as you can. Yell, but don’t scream. A high-pitched scream may mimic the sound of a wounded animal.
  • SLOWLY back away while maintaining eye contact with the lion.
  • Safety equipment you may choose to carry could include bear spray, a noise device, like an air horn, and if you walk in the dark, a very bright flashlight.
  • If you are attacked, fight back!

When lions or any other wildlife becomes a public safety issue, the most humane and responsible option, particularly when dealing with predators, is often to euthanize it, but that isn’t a decision that Fish and Game staff takes lightly.

“Our Fish and Game staff, working with Wood River Valley partners has put a significant amount of energy into education and outreach about how residents and visitors can be responsible and safe when around wildlife” Magic Valley Regional Supervisor Craig White said. “As wildlife biologists, we dedicate our careers to managing healthy and robust wildlife populations, and the last thing we want to do is euthanize an animal.” 

Residents are encouraged to notify Fish and Game if you see a mountain lion within your community or neighborhood.

If a person is attacked or a lion shows aggression towards a person that should be immediately reported by calling 911. If a person has any encounter with an aggressive lion or if a pet or livestock is attacked, that should be immediately reported to the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359.