HERRIMAN, Utah (ABC4) — After a mountain lion was spotted in a southwestern Salt Lake County town over the weekend, police and wildlife officials are asking residents to keep an out for the big cat.
Scott Root, a conservation outreach manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), said a mountain lion was reported in Herriman late Saturday night near the intersection of 13000 South and 5800 West.
“As we approached to kind of investigate it, it darted off,” Root said. “Not that uncommon, but that’s what happened.”
Home security camera footage captured the mountain lion moving among vehicles in a driveway.
One neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, said she saw the animal hiding underneath her camper trailer.
“He just kind of curled up and would peek his head over and look at us,” she said. “Wasn’t really bothering anybody or anything.”
Still, the neighbor said that some people in the area expressed concern for their livestock, adding that they would have preferred for the animal to have been tranquilized and relocated.
“They needed to know that the cougar was no longer in the area to protect their livelihoods,” she said. “So there was a little bit of disappointment from those who witnessed what happened and the DWR’s handling of it.”
Wildlife officers didn’t want to risk trying to tranquilize the mountain lion in the dark of night, Root said.
“We don’t want an animal to be hurt…be tranquilized and end up on a road somewhere, where it’s going to get hurt,” he said, adding: “The only thing we were prepared to do was maybe put it down if it was injured.”
Now, wildlife officials and police are urging Herriman residents to report any mountain lion sightings. The hope is that officers can respond in the daytime and possibly relocate the animal.
“We do not like to tranquilize unless it’s a perfect situation for it,” Root said. “For instance, if the animal is in an enclosed garage.”
It’s also possible, Root said, that the animal got spooked by its weekend experience in the city and ran back to the hills.
While mountain lion sightings are unusual in Herriman, they are not unheard of. According to the DWR, the animals live in the mountains west of the city.
If anyone encounters a mountain lion outdoors, it’s suggested they do not run away from the animal.
“Make a lot of noise, make yourself appear bigger, and call for help,” Root said.
More information on how to respond to mountain lions be found at Wild Aware Utah.