Help us thank the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) for giving this mountain lion mom and her kittens a second chance. The lion family was undoubtedly out of place in an urban area.
Relocation of lions provides its own set of challenges, as this lion family will have to learn new terrain and wildlife patterns, but IDFG's decision to relocate the family to remote habitat is to be applauded.
POCATELLO - During the week of Jan. 16, 2017 Idaho Department of Fish and Game became aware of a mountain lion family that had made themselves at home right among the residents of Johnny Creek.
Granted, mountain lion movements through the foothills of Pocatello are part of living in the urban/wildlife interface.
However, this situation was unique in that mama mountain lion and her three kittens decided to really "move in", taking advantage of the urban deer and other wildlife living in the area, and using people's yards as their personal pantry for caching (storing) their kills. These factors made removal of the mountain lions necessary.
On Thursday, Jan. 19, Fish and Game staff, with the help of an experienced hound hunter, was able to track and tree the three kittens (ranging in size from 35-50 pounds). Catch poles were used to extricate the cats from the trees and load them in large animal crates. The kittens were transported to the Fish and Game office for an overnight stay. Getting mom proved a little trickier. She escaped capture efforts until the next day.
On Friday, Jan. 20, conservation officers returned to the same area with the hound hunter and his dogs. The female mountain lion had come down to the property where her kittens had been captured and was feeding on the deer she had cached.
The female lion was treed, tranquilized, and carted back to the Fish and Game office.
With the mountain lion family reunited, Fish and Game transported and released the female and her kittens in suitable and more remote habitat on Friday afternoon. The female was radio-collared so that important information about her and her kittens' movements, survival, and perhaps even the success of the release can be evaluated.
This is the first capture and release of an entire mountain lion family by Idaho Fish and Game in the southeast region.