An adult mountain lion sits in a tree in this Colorado Division of Wildlife photo. Mountain lion sightings are rare, but the animals do live in and around Steamboat Springs. Recent sightings have been reported on Mount Werner and Emerald Mountain.

Colorado Division of Wildlife/Courtesy

An adult mountain lion sits in a tree in this Colorado Division of Wildlife photo. Mountain lion sightings are rare, but the animals do live in and around Steamboat Springs. Recent sightings have been reported on Mount Werner and Emerald Mountain.

Mountain lion spied near Steamboat

Big cat was seen near top of the chairlift on Emerald Mountain

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— A mountain lion was spotted early Tuesday evening near the top of the chairlift on Emerald Mountain.

District Wildlife Manager Danielle Domson said the Colorado Division of Wildlife hadn’t received any calls or complaints of mountain lions on Emerald this year, but several have been sighted on Mount Werner.

Domson said that it’s pretty rare for people in this area to see mountain lions and that the agency gets about 10 calls a year for them.

Domson said the mountain lion is probably on Emerald because the area serves as an elk calving area.

Deer are mountain lions’ prime prey, but mountain lions also will prey on young elk, she said.

There are no plans to trap or kill the mountain lion.

“We don’t trap and move wildlife unless they’ve been aggressive or attacked a person,” Domson said. “We’ll post signs and warn people that they are around. We’re more into promoting coexisting with wildlife.”

Domson said if a person encounters a mountain lion, he or she should remain calm and get as big and intimidating as possible.

People should slowly back away and should not look the cat in the eyes or turn and run.

“The worst thing you can do is turn and run,” she said. “It elicits their chase response.”

In the rare instance where a person is attacked, Domson said he or she should fight back with anything available.

She said mountain lions target smaller animals, so she encouraged people to keep children and dogs close. She said the most likely times to see mountain lions are at dawn and dusk.

It’s not the first time a mountain lion has been spotted on Emerald.

In November 2009, several Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes encountered a mountain lion near the top of Emerald.

Club Executive Director Rick DeVos said coaches and athletes who train on Emerald were briefed on the sightings and told what to do in case of an encounter.

“It seems like every year we get reports of animals like this,” he said. “We’re tightening up our control of groups, for starters.

“We’re not allowing any athletes to be separated from the groups. It will be coaches in front and the back.”

— To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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