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Contact: Denise Germann, 406-888-5738
WEST GLACIER, MT. – A mountain lion was shot and killed by a park ranger after the lion attacked a dog in the employee housing area of Glacier National Park in West Glacier Saturday evening.
At approximately 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, a park employee returned to her residence and upon opening the car door, her two dogs unexpectedly raced out of the car. The employee followed after the dogs and observed one of the dogs in a fight with a mountain lion. The other dog was quickly retreating back to the employee.
Other housing residents heard the dogs, lion and employee yelling, and ran to offer assistance. A shovel was briefly used unsuccessfully to separate the mountain lion and dog. The animals tumbled over an embankment near the Flathead River. Another housing resident arrived with bear spray and began throwing rocks and logs. The mountain lion pinned down the dog near the river’s edge.
A park ranger arrived at the scene and shot the mountain lion. The dog broke away and jumped into the river. After confirming the mountain lion was down and wasn’t moving, the park ranger entered the river to bring the dog to safety. Others helped to get the injured dog to the river bank.
The dog was transported to a veterinarian. After many stitches and wound care, the dog is anticipated to fully recover. A necropsy will be performed on the mountain lion to determine health and age.
The park headquarters and employee housing area have been posted for mountain lion frequenting over the winter months. A mountain lion was hazed this winter in the employee housing area after observations of the animal near homes and offices.
Park rangers believe additional lions may be in the headquarters developed area. The park will continue to implement management actions in the area as appropriate, including posting the area to lion frequenting, educational outreach to employees and visitors, area and/or trail closures, hazing and possible removal. These actions are consistent with park management plans.
Glacier National Park is home to mountain lions. If there is an encounter with a mountain lion, visitors and employees are encouraged to make noise and do not run. Talk calmly, avert your gaze, stand tall, and back away. Unlike with bears, if attack seems imminent, act aggressively. Do not crouch and do not turn away. Lions may be scared away by being struck with rocks, sticks, or by being kicked or hit. Lions are primarily nocturnal, but they have attacked in broad daylight. They rarely prey on humans, but such behavior occasionally does occur. Children and small adults are particularly vulnerable. Report all mountain lion encounters immediately to a park official.
Pets are allowed in developed areas of the park, including frontcountry campgrounds and picnic areas, along roads, in parking areas, and in boats on lakes where motorized watercraft are permitted. Pets are not permitted on trails, along lake shores, in the backcountry, or in any building. Pets must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet, under physical restraint, or caged at all times, including while in open-bed pickup trucks.
For more information about recreating in and visiting the park, please visit https://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm.