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UPDATE: FWP removes mountain lion found near Centennial Park

Posted at 9:10 AM, May 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 22:30:18-04

(UPDATE, 5:30 p.m.) Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) says the mountain lion killed in Helena city limits on Wednesday was a subadult male that appeared to be healthy.

FWP believes there a few ways the cat could have made its way to the NorthWestern Energy property, noting Helena is right in the middle of mountain lion habitat.

“It’s not uncommon for mountain lion to be found around here,” said FWP spokesman Greg Lemon, “When we look at where that lion was found — in the open spaces by Centennial park and the railroad tracks, it’s not too hard to envision how a lion to get into some of those corridors want wader it’s way in.”

FWP also recommends people learn what to do if they encounter a mountain lion and how to defend themselves:

  • Never approach a mountain lion. Most lions will try to avoid a confrontation as long as you give them a way to escape.
  • Do not run. Mountain lions are predators and running may stimulate their instinct to chase and kill. Instead, face the animal, keep making eye contact and stand up. If you have small pet or children, pick them up so that they don’t run. Also never bend over or crouch down since it can make you resemble a four-legged prey animal.
  • Appear as large as possible. Open your jacket if wearing one and raise your arms. Throw items like branches, stones, water bottles or anything else you can reach without bending down or turning your back. You want to convince the animal you are could be a danger to it.
  • Fight back. If a lion attacks it will usually try to grab your head or neck. Fight back and try to remain standing and face the attacking animal.
  • Bear Spray. Carry bear spray with you while hiking. Although it is called “bear” spray, the pepper powder will work on just about any wild or domestic animal that attacks.

“You know it’s unlike with a grizzly bear where you’re backing away and trying to no escalate the situation. With a mountain lion humans want to be aggressive in scaring that animal away,” noted Lemon.

If you see a mountain lion in city limits, by a home or near a public area like a hiking trail, FWP asks that you report the animal to law enforcement for the safety of all.

-Reported by John Riley/MTN News

(First report)

HELENA – A mountain lion found in city limits has been killed and removed by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The Helena Police Department reported the mountain lion was spotted at NorthWestern Energy property on the 1300 block of Last Chance Gulch around 7:30 a.m.

An employee saw the cat in the bushes near a building entrance.

Interim Police Chief Steve Hagen stated in a news release that “immobilizing and relocating mountain lions located in urban areas is not a safe/feasible option so lethal means are used.”

The HPD, animal control officers, and FWP all responded.

-Reported by Jacob Fuhrer/MTN News