BUENA VISTA, Colo. (KDVR) — An 11-year-old girl was injured by a mountain lion when it swatted her in the face, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said Thursday.
The attack occurred Wednesday when the girl went into the family chicken coop and found a dead chicken. She opened the door to the hen house and that’s when the young mountain lion swatted her in the face, leaving a puncture wound.
The girl was treated at a Chaffee County hospital for the small puncture wound on her face and released.
CPW officers responded to the incident at the house, located in a rural area southeast of Buena Vista, and found the young 30-pound female feline still in the mesh coop and immediately euthanized it.
“This was a small mountain lion probably just looking for an easy meal in the chicken coop,” Sean Shepherd, area wildlife manager based in Salida, said. “The victim likely surprised the lion. It probably felt threatened and it swatted at her as she entered.”
2nd mountain lion attack in Chaffee County this year
A man was attacked by a mountain lion while sitting in an in-ground hot tub on March 18 in Nathrop, CPW said. Officers attempted to find the mountain lion after the attack but were unable to find tracks due to the freezing temperatures and frozen snow on the ground.
The Buena Vista and Nathrop attacks were rare and the first ones since Feb. 27, 2022, CPW said. This is the 25th mountain lion attack on a human reported in the state since 1990.
CPW offers guidelines on living with mountain lions and what to do if you run into one.
How to prevent an encounter with a mountain lion
- Make lots of noise if you come and go during the times mountain lions are most active: dusk to dawn.
- Install outside lighting. Light areas where you walk so you could see a lion if one were present.
- Closely supervise children whenever they play outdoors. Make sure children are inside before dusk and not outside before dawn. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.
- Landscape or remove vegetation to eliminate hiding places for lions. Make it difficult for lions to approach unseen.
- Planting non-native shrubs and plants that deer often prefer to eat encourages wildlife to come onto your property. Predators follow prey. Never feed any wildlife.
- Keep your pet under control. Roaming pets are easy prey and can attract lions. Bring pets in at night. If you leave your pet outside, keep it in a kennel with a secure top. Don’t feed pets outside; this can attract raccoons and other animals that are eaten by lions. Store all garbage securely.
- Place livestock in enclosed sheds or barns at night. Close doors to all outbuildings since inquisitive lions may go inside for a look.
Residents are asked to report mountain lion sightings or activity near their homes by calling their local CPW office or Colorado State Patrol after business hours.