Arizona Officials Kill Three Mountain Lions Feeding on Human Remains

Mountain lion sightings are common in Arizona and the Game and Fish Department has a thing or two to say about encountering them. (Photo: AZGFD)

Wildlife officials in Arizona killed three mountain lions after the lions ate human remains in a popular hiking area. The lions weren’t suspected of killing any humans, however, lions that scavenge human remains are believed to become more likely to attack humans as a result.

The local sheriffs in Pima County located the human remains early last week and captured the lions, which were put down last Wednesday. They also closed the trail to investigate the scene.

“Mountain lions are not routinely scavengers,” said Raul Vega, a regional supervisor with the Arizona Department of Game and Fish to KGUN. “A mountain lion eating human remains is abnormal behavior. Those that do are more likely to attack a human being in the future.”

“We do not believe the lion attacked the individual who died there,” said Mark Hart to KGUN’s Craig Smith. “An autopsy will tell us more. But our belief is they were eating the human remains after the fact.”

Smith asked the wildlife officials if it was possible to relocate the lions instead of putting them down.

“No, because when you move a mountain lion in this part of the world, you’re just going to put it into another lion’s territory, they’re very territorial and will fight to the death over a piece of real estate,” Hart explained.

According to Vega, the lions were not afraid of humans, choosing to eat the remains within 50 yards from the trail, all in sight of human housing. They also showed no fear of the officers.

“The animal activity is nothing new,” said local Tom Goslin. “We see it in the neighborhood all the time. I don’t know of anyone or anyone’s pet that has actually been harmed by it.”

See Also: Mountain Lions Spotted Encroaching on Colorado Residents

Officials scheduled an autopsy for the human remains and preserved the lions’ bodies if a necropsy is further warranted. The three lions included one mature lion and two yearlings.

Arizona wildlife officials recommend installing measures to keep pets and livestock safe from the lions’ predation, and even discouraging wild animals such as rabbits, javelina and deer from trailing near human habitats in order to deter lion activity.

Mountain lions are also attracted to water sources like pets’ water bowls, swimming pools, and fountains. They may also shelter in unused sheds and other buildings.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Roy the Polack August 22, 2020, 2:50 pm

    Round up a bunch of cougars, put them near the mexicanland border. Just a suggestion. Everyone loves mexican food, even mountain lions.

  • Joe June 8, 2020, 11:38 am

    I am also an outdoors man and a previous K-9 handler for SAR. While I do agree that we should protect ourselves, and respect wildlife, cougars have over populated, since we’ve taken away the ability to hunt them with hounds. Now if you have a cougar problem DFW will bring hounds to track it, but it is usually after it’s killed livestock. They definitely need to be respected, I’ve seen 4 in the wild, impressive animals for sure.
    I just wonder how many people would be saying the same thing if it killed your child’s 4h project before pre-fair that they worked hard on for anywhere from 3 mos – a year.

  • Vinny May 1, 2020, 9:21 am

    I’m siding with the Lions.
    The “human” went into their territory. Same as swimming in the ocean. You know the risk. Think about it . Hey wild animals we’re moving into your territory so for the sake of humanity we have to kill you.

  • J.D. Smith January 31, 2020, 1:49 pm

    “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it”

    A Lenning-guess you watched “Super Chicken” as a kid too. That show goes back to the mid-sixties you know. Like my grandkids say-you’re old!

  • mtman2 January 7, 2020, 6:44 pm

    Over time this cougar population has grown past wild space availability for individual territorial hunting ranges.
    Means these cats must be hunted to –
    1) maintain space enuff for a safe population to exist in wild places to not be forced into human areas by dominant mature cats.
    2) the hunting will keep a healthy fear of man to avoid humans by having sufficient room in available territory by NOT allowing cougar overpopulation = managed at correct populationt levels.

    COMMONSENSE CONSERVATION

    • Allen Marker January 31, 2020, 6:46 am

      I’m not a PETA member or anything, I’m actually a hunter but, couldn’t we say that humanity has grown past civilized space availability for individual territorial coexistance? Just a thought. Killing animals in the name of protecting humanity is not always the humane thing to do…in my opinon. Provide an animal a meal in it’s natural habitat, where humanity is a guest & that animal will eat that meal. It’s natural.

  • jim ziegler January 7, 2020, 9:19 am

    We have them in Central Kansas my wife and I watch them walk across our property and my neighbor has seen two in his pasture just west of us, so we’re not alone out there that is why I carry a gun every day I go out in the yard you never know where or when they are going to appear.

  • Mike Pritt January 7, 2020, 8:31 am

    Anyone that believes the bull crap about these lions not causing the death of the hiker is a complete gullible idiot!

    • Allen Marker January 31, 2020, 6:53 am

      Speculation & emotional hysteria is what drives the left in their pursuit of our civil liberties & constitutional rights. As in gun rights. Let’s get all the facts before we make a judgement & then we can make an educated decision on what actually happened. There was the bear killed for eating a the remains of an overdose meth addict before they discovered the man was dead before the bear took to the meal. We’re killing animals for being animals. I hunt. Not an animal activist. I just don’t get senselessly killing animals in the name of humanity. I just like to get as many facts as possible before I come to a conclusion.

      • Chris January 31, 2020, 2:42 pm

        I too hunt and appreciate your well reasoned response and thoughts.

    • A Lenning January 31, 2020, 1:03 pm

      Mike, don’t be quick to pass judgment with only the few words written. Being on a SAR team I have seen all kinds of ways people have died out in nature. Medical emergency, heat and cold exposure, suicide, criminal acts, and so forth…

      Too bad for the cats. Most likely a mother and her near adult cubs she raised over the last year?
      People come first, but if you choose to move next a wilderness area, noisy airport, crowded park, sewage treatment plant, etc etc, I don’t feel sorry for you. I don’t think deserve to be accommodated. “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.”

      Trial by the media and popular opinion rarely is accurate.

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