Park City police told of a mountain lion in Old Town backyard | ParkRecord.com

Park City police told of a mountain lion in Old Town backyard

The Park City Police Department on Sunday afternoon received a report of a mountain lion in an Old Town backyard, another in a series of cases involving the predators this winter but one that is especially notable since the location is within a tightly packed neighborhood close to the Main Street core.

The Police Department received the report at 1:47 p.m. on King Road, a small, steep street in the southern end of Old Town. The bottom of King Road intersects with Main Street while the top of the road terminates into the mountains. The police were told the animal headed toward Norfolk Avenue.

The location is primarily residential with people living on King Road and Norfolk Avenue as well as the nearby streets of Park Avenue, Woodside Avenue, Daly Avenue and Ridge Avenue. There are also residences along the nearby upper stretch of Main Street.

The southern edge of Old Town is surrounded by mountains with Empire Canyon being popular with recreation lovers throughout the year. The canyon provides wildlife habitat for animals like deer and moose. Mountain lions especially prey on deer.

“If the deer’s in town, a mountain lion or two might show up,” Scott Root, Division of Wildlife Resources

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The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources did not immediately receive the report of the mountain lion. Scott Root, the conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources region that includes Park City, said prey animals like deer have descended from higher elevations in search of ground to graze with the deep snow at higher elevations. Predators like mountain lions have followed the prey animals to the lower elevations.

"If the deer's in town, a mountain lion or two might show up," Root said.

Root said the Division of Wildlife Resources is "always ready to respond immediately" to a mountain lion sighting. He said if a mountain lion shows aggressiveness to people or pets, the Division of Wildlife Resources could opt to kill the animal. The division, though, typically tranquilizes a mountain lion and releases the animal in an unpopulated location. Root said the safety of the public is the priority.

There has been a series of mountain lion sightings this winter in Park City, including on or close to streets like Aspen Springs Drive, Morning Sky Court, Fairway Village Drive and Oak Wood Drive. The Police Department in mid-December received a report of a mountain lion in the road in the vicinity of Marsac Avenue and Ontario Avenue, a location that is close to King Road. A driver, meanwhile, hit and killed a mountain lion on S.R. 224 close to the McPolin Farm in the middle of December.

The not-for-profit Wild Aware Utah organization provides tips for people who encounter a mountain lion. They include stopping rather than running, standing tall, maintaining eye contact and picking up children or pets. The organization also says people should make themselves look as if they are bigger than they are by waving arms or a jacket above the head. Someone should talk in a firm voice and slowly back away, Wild Aware Utah says, adding that a person should fight back if the mountain lion attacks. The information is available online at: wildawareutah.org/utah-wildlife-information/cougars.

The Police Department last week received a series of other wildlife reports. The cases included:

• on March 10 at 6:27 a.m., a deer was seen on the road on Kearns Boulevard outside the Park City School District campus. It was not clear from public police logs whether the deer was alive.

• on March 9 at 2:12 p.m., a moose was reported on Belle Starr Court. It had been there since the morning, the police were told. The person who contacted the Police Department said the animal might be injured.

• on March 9 at 6:37 a.m., an elk herd was seen close to the road on Kearns Boulevard outside the School District campus.

• on March 5 at 1:37 p.m., a moose was seen on a trail close to Equestrian Way. The police were told youngsters use the trail.