|Twice in the past two weeks, campers have had their dogs attacked by a mountain lion along the lower Verde River between Bartlett and Horseshoe lakes, advise Arizona Game and Fish Department officials.
The most recent incident occurred May 3 at the Indian Springs dispersed camping area near Bartlett Lake. Campers spotted a mountain lion near their camp after dark carrying off their dog. The campers immediately began yelling and throwing rocks and sticks at the catamount. They succeeded in driving off the mountain lion. The animal did not return. The incident was not reported to wildlife authorities until the following week. The dog was treated for puncture wounds by a veterinarian and is expected to live.
Another incident occurred two weeks earlier near the Mesquite Campground on the upper reaches of Bartlett Lake. That camper was also able to chase the mountain lion away. Once again, there was a lengthy delay in reporting the incident to authorities.
Public Information Officer Rory Aikens says that these two incidents are likely the work of one mountain lion, although it is possible there are two different pumas involved. Lions can have home territories of 100 square miles more. Even though lions are extremely territorial, there can be some overlapping of territories.
"We want the public to be aware of the incidents but there is no reason to be alarmed. Mountain lions are typically secretive and most people will never see a lion in the wild, much less have a confrontation with one. However, campers and other recreationists need to take the proper precautions in lion country," Aikens advises.
For instance, don't leave young children unsupervised. Don't let your pets roam free. Hike, jog or mountain bike in groups.
The Game and Fish Department is also asking the public to report such encounters in a timely manner. "The best way to track a lion is using well-trained dogs. Once the scent trail is cold, finding the offending puma can be extremely difficult. Please give us a call if you have an encounter with a mountain lion that is acting aggressively toward humans or pets."
During normal business hours, you can call the Game and Fish Department at (602) 942-3000. Or you can call the toll-free, 24-hour number at 1-800-352-0700. Game and Fish has the following tips for mountain lion encounters:
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