Dinosaur National Monument Reminds Visitors to be Lion Aware

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Date: August 1, 2014
Contact: Dan Johnson, Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services, (435) 781-7702

Colorado/Utah –Staff at DinosaurNational Monument are reminding visitors that they are visiting lion mountaincountry when traveling in the monument, especially in the backcountry and along the river canyons.

On Tuesday, July 22nd,fresh evidence of an animal killed by a mountain lion was found in the EchoPark area. Signs of the kill included paw prints, blood, fur, and drag marks from the mountain lion moving an animal from a meadow south of a restroom,across a road, and into the brush along the Green River. A 72-hour closure was placed on the area immediately around the kill site to minimize disturbance of the mountain lion as it feeds. Prior to this event, a visitor on a rafting trip on the Green River noticed a mountain lion watching him from a ledge above the Rippling Brook campsite.

Visitors are reminded that although mountain lions, also known as cougars, are rare to see, all of Dinosaur National Monument is suitable habitat. Visitors should take appropriate precautions when recreating within the monument. According to Wayne Prokopetz, Chief of Resource Management, "As the higher elevation areas in the monument dry out, deer and elk will move to the river corridors to find better forage. Mountain lions will follow these animals since they are the lions preferred food source.""Due to the increase in sightings, we are stepping up our mountain lion safety education program," stated Chief Ranger Lee Buschkowsky. Hikers, boaters, and campers are encouraged to be alert for their presence and report mountain lion sightings as soon as possible at a visitor center or ranger station. Visitors should remember the following safety tips:

To prevent an encounter:

  • Don't hike or jog alone
  • Keep children within sight and close to you
  • Avoid dead animals
  • Keep a clean camp
  • Leave pets at home
  • Be alert to your surroundings
  • Use a walking stick

If you meet a mountain lion:

  • Don't run, as this may trigger a cougar's attack instinct
  • Stand and face it
  • Pick up children
  • Appear large, wave arms or jacket over your head
  • Do not approach, back away slowly
  • Keep eye contact

If you encounter a mountain lionand it acts aggressive:

  • Do not turn your back or take your eyes off it
  • Remain standing
  • Throw things
  • Shout loudly
  • Fight back aggressively

In addition to mountain lions,other wildlife, such as deer, elk, black bear, and bighorn sheep, are prevalentin the monument. Please be alert for animals crossing the roads –particularly at dawn and dusk. Never approach or feed any animals in the monument.

For more information on Dinosaur National Monument,call us at (435) 781-7700. You can also follow DinosaurNPS on Facebook, twitter, or flickr.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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Mailing Address:

4545 Hwy 40
Dinosaur, CO 81610


(435) 781-7700

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