On the night of Tuesday, April 10, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game captured and removed two mountain lions, a female and a male, from the Gibson Jack area of Pocatello.
The mountain lions, both sub-adults, were thin and dehydrated, the female weighing only 15 pounds and the male 20 pounds at time of capture. Both were taken to a secure, safe holding facility where they are being monitored and awaiting placement at a zoo.
Fish and Game had received a call over Easter weekend about mountain lions observed in the Gibson Jack area. An investigation revealed that a house cat likely had been killed by a mountain lion; however, it also appeared that the mountain lions were moving away from the residential area toward suitable habitat.
On the morning of April 10, Fish and Game received a report that a small dog was attacked by what was described as a "small mountain lion" in the Gibson Jack area the night before. According to the caller, the attack occurred while the dog and its owner were recreating in the area. The dog's owner and a jogger who also saw the attack began throwing rocks at the mountain lion and were able to scare it away. The dog was not killed.
Because this was the second attack on domestic animals in the Gibson Jack area, and because of its proximity to humans at the time of the attack, Fish and Game began the process of setting up live traps to capture the mountain lions.
Before the traps could even be put into position, another report of a mountain lion attacking a dog in front of a Gibson Jack residence came in to the Bannock County Sheriff's office the night of April 10. The Sheriff's Office and Fish and Game responded. Two young mountain lions were discovered on the property of a homeowner. Both animals were darted and removed from the area.
Because of reports of a possible third young mountain lion in the area, an experienced houndsman and his dogs were brought to the area by Fish and Game to attempt tracking the third cat. No additional mountain lions or scent trails were detected.
"It appears that these mountain lions lost their mother over the winter," said Toby Boudreau, regional wildlife manager for Fish and Game's Southeast Region. "We assume this because these animals appear too young to adequately provide for themselves as evidenced by their poor body conditions, and because it is unusual for mountain lions to feed on loose domesticated animals."
Fish and Game reminds the public that though Pocatello is surrounded with habitat that provides a home for various wildlife species, including mountain lions, incidences with mountain lions are quite rare.