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BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) – A warning concerning wildlife, wintry weather and your well-being was sent out by Boulder officials on Wednesday as the season highlighted by increased mountain lion activity approaches.

The City of Boulder is calling on those who live near town and in populated areas to begin bracing for the anticipated arrival of mountain lions who tend to travel further into lower elevation areas in search of food during the colder months.

“We encourage community members to take precautions and be prepared if they encounter a mountain lion,” head of media relations with the City of Boulder, Cate Stanek said.

Mountain lions: Tendencies and habits

one-year-old puma in the streets of Santiago
(Credit: Andres Pina/ATON CHILE/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Boulder officials, these wild feline wanderers who have been a member of the Front Range’s ecosystem for thousands of years do not pose much more than a low-level risk to humans. However, the killing of pets, also known as pet depredation, as well as the occasional attack on a human are not impossible occurrences.

When a mountain lion establishes its territory, it is often the only lion in that area. Unsurprisingly, when a mountain lion abandons the territory it has claimed, another solitary mountain lion will typically claim the abandoned area. According to the city’s statement, this is why removing or relocating mountain lions is not used as a method to reduce potential conflict.

If an animal is removed or relocated, then it has proven itself through out-of-the-ordinary behavior that is a direct threat to humans.

Steps to lion-proof your property

  • Put up illuminating exterior lighting
  • Always accompany your pets when outside
    • This is all the more important during darker hours
  • Always supervise your children when they are outdoors
  • Remove outdoor food sources that could attract mountain lions
Cougar Cubs Celebrate The Holiday Season
(Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

If you come face-to-face with a mountain lion

  • Do not, repeat, do not approach a lion if they walk onto your property
  • Stay calm, and be firm and level when talking to it
  • Stop or back away slowly if you are able to, always facing the lion
    • Keep in mind that running may instigate the lion’s instincts to chase and attack
  • Get Big!: Do everything in your power to increase your stature
    • open your jacket
    • raise your small children above your head so they don’t run away in a panic

As winter approaches, consider adding these preventative efforts to your winterizing practices and be sure to keep your whole family briefed on how to handle a situation where a mountain lion is present.

Luck favors the prepared, and being ready to deal with a mountain lion is a skill set those living in the foothills simply cannot live without, especially with winter coming.