In Colorado, Deer Creek Canyon Park has been closed by officials due to an aggressive mountain lion in the area.
After numerous reports from hikers in the last two weeks saying they had an encounter with a mountain lion, officials have closed trails until further notice.
“We made the call to err on the side of safety to close the park down and get our wildlife officers in here to comb over the area to see what (hikers) are seeing,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Jason Clay told KDVR.
Clay says that the big cat sightings are not uncommon, but they typically keep their distance from humans. However, this mountain lion was not showing this behavior.
Officials have since closed down access to Black Bear Trail from Hildebrand Ranch Park and Deer Creek Canyon Park. Deer Canyon Park is part of Jefferson County Open Space, about 35 minutes southwest of Denver.
“Then last night, a similar deal: an encounter with a mountain lion on the trail and that mountain lion didn’t want to run off,” Clay said. “It is something that made us think enough to say ‘let’s close it down and take a look to make sure it’s an area that’s going to be safe’ for a very popular park where people want to come out to enjoy the outdoors.”
More Big Cat Encounters
*Warning: Video Contains Explicit Language
At the beginning of the video, a mountain lion kitten is seen, which is likely why the cat was showing such aggressive behavior.
What to Do if You Come in Contact With a Mountain Lion
According to the National Park Service, if you come in contact with a mountain lion, there are ways to promote safety and scare it away.
Firstly, try never to hike alone, however, if you are alone, stay calm. Face the lion, stand tall, and hold eye contact with the cat.
Try to back away slowly, but never approach the animal. Also, never run away. This might trigger an instinct to chase you.
Do not crouch or bend over. “Biologists surmise mountain lions don’t recognize standing humans as prey. On the other hand, a person squatting or bending over looks a lot like a four-legged prey animal,” says the website.
If you can, try to throw rocks or anything accessible at the animal to scare it away. This is what untimely detoured the mountain lion in the video to run away.
Lastly, speak loudly and appear as large and intimidating as possible to the large cat.