No efforts planned to catch mountain lion after weekend encounter
Public should be aware, not frightened of wild animals, say officials
By Karen Woodmansee
Nevada Appeal News Service,
There will be no attempts by state wildlife experts to locate the mountain lion encountered by an East Carson City man on Saturday. The incident is not considered an attack, merely an encounter, said Chris Healy, public information officer for the Nevada Division of Wildlife.
David McClelland, who lives on Pinion Hills Road in Carson City, put himself between a mountain lion and his 15-year-old son when he perceived the animal was stalking the youth, who was coming home from a dirt-bike ride. McClelland lost his footing on a steep embankment and fell, knocking himself out, but apparently scaring off the cat.
Healy said although McClelland believed the cat was stalking his son, the government didn’t have any other evidence of that, and a mountain lion was not likely to attack a person on a dirt bike.
“We advise that people on a trail should make noise and make yourself apparent,” he said. “Nothing makes more noise or makes you more apparent than an off-road bike.”
He said McClelland’s description of the incident indicates the cougar was startled by the appearance of the dirt bike.
He said mountain lions are a fact of life in Nevada and those who choose to live on the edge of wildlands need to be aware of their surroundings at all times, with the largest threat being to house pets.
“It is kind of incumbent on people to remember where they’re at,” he said. “If you are going to live in that country you have to take care of your pets and look out for animals. There are deer and when you have deer you are going to have mountain lions.”
Healy said the Carson River Road area is known for mountain lions, bobcats and black bear.
He said it would be very difficult to track a lion in dry conditions, and officials couldn’t be sure if it was the right animal.
He said Nevada has not had a problem with mountain lion attacks on humans, though there have been several in California.
“The best response, instead of panicking, is to understand where you are and if you live in an urban interface, you are living on the edge of the wildlands, you need to be aware,” he said.
Mountain lions are secretive animals that are rarely seen by people, he said.
“Out of sight out of mind,” he said. “A case like this just brings it to the forefront. But human beings are bad news for lions, and they avoid contact.”
Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-7351.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org