Utah wildlife officers capture mountain lion at Park City’s McPolin Farm after dog chases it into tree
The animal, suffering from an injured leg, spotted close to the silos at the back of the iconic barn
State wildlife officers captured a mountain lion on the grounds of the McPolin Farm on Thursday morning after the animal climbed into a tree to escape a dog that was in pursuit, the authorities said, a dramatic encounter involving one of the elusive predators.
The Park City Police Department said the police received the report at approximately 7 a.m. on a trail at the farm. The mountain lion was close to the silos, the police said. The silos stand at the back of the iconic barn that marks the entryway to Park City.
The police said a person walking a dog saw the mountain lion and the pet chased the animal into a globe willow tree close to the silos.
The state Division of Wildlife Resources was summoned. An official with the division said the mountain lion was tranquilized sometime between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and was expected to be relocated to mountainous area away from population centers. The Division of Wildlife Resources, though, indicated it was determined the mountain lion had suffered a leg injury and there was a possibility the animal would be destroyed. The status of the mountain lion was not known late on Thursday morning. The police said the injury may have been the result of a collision with a vehicle on nearby S.R. 224.
Scott Root, a Division of Wildlife Resources conservation outreach manager, said nobody was injured at the farm and the dog that chased the mountain lion was uninjured.
Root said mountain lions oftentimes flee into a tree when they encounter a large dog. Details about the canine that chased the mountain lion were not immediately available.
“A lot of times, lions will go up a tree,” Root said.
The Police Department occasionally receives reports of mountain lion sightings in locations across Park City. The sightings are notable since mountain lions pose a danger to people and pets. Mountain lion prey animals like deer are plentiful in the Park City area, with large tracts of undeveloped land providing habitat.
One of the recent cases involved a sighting in the vicinity of a trailhead on the edge of Park Meadows. The police in that case, logged in early June, was told of a mountain lion in the area of the Cove trailhead. In late February, meanwhile, a mountain lion was reported to have been moving through a backyard on Mountain Ridge Court chasing deer. In an earlier case that drew attention, a driver on S.R. 224 in the area of the McPolin Farm hit and killed a mountain lion in late 2018.
The McPolin Farm location of the mountain lion on Thursday, though, is especially significant since the grounds are regularly used by hikers and bicyclists in the summer as well as those taking photographs of the iconic barn and the surrounding land.
Wildlife sightings in Park City more often involve moose, elk or deer. There are frequent sightings at the McPolin Farm or elsewhere along the S.R. 224 entryway.
More information about mountain lions is available from Wild Aware Utah, a partnership involving the Division of Wildlife Resources, Utah’s Hogle Zoo and Utah State University Extension. The address is: wildawareutah.org/wildlife/cougars/.
“Brad McCutcheon has been a member of the Park City Day School community for seven years, both as a parent of three students and an administrator wearing many hats,” said an email sent by school board of trustee member Savannah O’Connell.
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