For the week of February 17, 1999  thru February 23, 1999  

Cougar sightings continue

Express Staff Writer

Although the recent valley plague of pet disappearances blamed on mountain lions has, for the moment, dissipated, residents are still reporting sightings of both lions and lion tracks in the Ketchum area.

Ten-year-old John Davidson said that last Wednesday he saw a mountain lion walking on Garnet Street. The lion was traveling toward the south side of Dollar Mountain, he told the Idaho Mountain Express.

John was walking from his Topaz Street home to a neighbor’s house on Garnet Street. At about 3:30 p.m., John saw what he first thought was a large dog walking in the middle of the street.

When he looked closer, however, he realized that it was a cougar.

John was able to identify the animal from a trip he took with his Cub Scout pack in January to Penny Lake west of Ketchum, where the kids were able to view a cougar and her two kittens feeding on an elk carcass there.

"It was a huge animal," John said of the Garnet Street cat, "and it was just slinking along."

When he realized what the animal was, John said he yelled "cougar!" to let people in the area know there was potential for danger. Then he ran home.

John’s mother, Janie Davidson, said the residents in their neighborhood are concerned but not panicked.

"Everybody is concerned, and we all have dogs," she said. "If it’s dark, the lights are on and the dog doesn’t go out by itself—neither to the kids."

Gary Maxwell, a resident of the Parkside condominiums bordering Atkinson Park, said that last Tuesday morning, he found cougar tracks on his porch. But he hasn’t seen any tracks since then.

Also, Gary Vinagre reported that following the incident at his Garnet Street home a week and a half ago in which his hunting dog was killed by a cougar, he saw tracks from yet another big cat on his property.

Department of Fish and Game conservation officer Lee Frost said there haven’t been any more reported incidents following the Vinagres’ loss of their dog. However, he said that he has received calls from several valley residents who have reported sightings.

"I think the awareness level is way up," he said. "It’s got people thinking and it should cut down on the (human or pet-related) contact."


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