A mountain lion that decided to cache its mule deer in the Split Mountain Campground at Dinosaur National Monument has led park officials to close the campground to the public for the time being.
The big cat was seen dragging its kill into the campground that lies along the Green River on December 11. Mountain lions can cache their kills and return to feed for a number of days, and they exhibit defensive behavior around the carcass during that time, park officials note.
In winter conditions, the lion can remain near the cached carcass for one to two weeks, they add. Due to the significant safety risk posed by the lion and the cached food supply, the Split Mountain area is closed until further notice. It is anticipated that the area will reopen within two weeks.
Also closed along with the campground were the Green River access point for floaters and the Green River picnic area.
Visitors are reminded that although mountain lions, also known as cougars, are rare to see, all of Dinosaur National Monument is suitable habitat. Visitors should take appropriate precautions when recreating within the Monument.
To prevent an encounter:
• Don't hike or jog alone
• Keep children within sight and close to you
• Avoid dead animals
• Keep a clean camp
• Leave pets at home
• Be alert to your surroundings
• Use a walking stick
If you meet a mountain lion:
• Don't run, as this may trigger a cougar's attack instinct
• Stand and face it
• Pick up children
• Appear large, wave arms or jacket over your head
• Do not approach, back away slowly
• Keep eye contact
If you encounter a mountain lion and it acts aggressive:
• Do not turn your back or take your eyes off it
• Remain standing
• Throw things
• Shout loudly
• Fight back aggressively
In addition to mountain lions, other wildlife, such as deer, elk and bighorn sheep, are prevalent in the monument. Please be alert for animals crossing the roads - particularly at dawn and dusk.