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BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — In the midst of winter, Boulder County is cautioning the public about an upward trend of mountain lion sightings in the colder months.

Sitting at the base of the Flatirons, mountain lion sightings in town aren’t an uncommon occurrence. Boulder County has reported sightings as recent as Jan. 15 in the areas of Iris through Orchard Avenue.

While seeing a mountain lion in person is a unique experience, it is not a chance to stop for a photo-op. Boulder County is offering tips in case you cross the elusive feline.

What to do if you cross a mountain lion

  • Do not approach a lion
    • Most mountain lions want to avoid confrontation. Give them the space to escape.
  • Stay calm
    • Talk calmly and firmly to the lion and move slowly.
  • Stop or back away slowly
    • Running may stimulate the lion’s instinct to attack. Always face the lion and stand upright.
  • Do all you can to appear larger
    • Raise your arms, open your jacket if you are wearing one and protect small children by picking them up.
  • Throw stones
    • If the lion appears aggressive, throw stones, branches or whatever is in reach without having to crouch down or turn your back. You must convince the lion you are not prey but in fact a danger to the lion.
  • Fight back if attacked

To report a mountain lion sighting in the city, visit Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s website.

Mountain lions tend to venture down into the city in yards that attract their attention. Wildlife specialists recommend homeowners remove potential food sources such as pets, goats and chickens. Remove any low-lying brush as well, as lions make use of areas that provide cover.

Although the risk to humans is extremely low, pet depredation in Boulder is common. The county is offering tips on how to keep you and your furry friends safe.

How to reduce risk of mountain lions near your property

  • Make lots of noise when outside from dusk to dawn.
  • Install outdoor lighting.
  • Closely supervise children when outdoors.
  • Remove vegetation to eliminate hiding spaces for lions.
  • Avoid planting non-native shrubs that attract deer and therefore attract lions.
  • Keep pets under control — roaming pets are easy prey. Always bring pets in at night.
  • Place livestock in enclosed barns or sheds.
  • Store all garbage securely.

Mountain lions have always been a neighbor to those living in the Front Range, and the county wants everyone to understand lion behaviors so that the two can live cohesively.

“Mountain lions have been a part of the Front Range ecosystem for thousands of years. They are both territorial and solitary,” Boulder County said in a statement. “When a mountain lion establishes its territory, it is often the only lion in that area. If a mountain lion leaves its territory, another mountain lion takes it over. Because of this, removing or relocating lions observed in the city does not reduce potential conflict. Rather, the focus is on building education and awareness about lions in the community.”