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Mountain Lion Euthanized In Lockwood

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks game wardens euthanized a mountain lion in Lockwood on Saturday, Aug. 5, due to public safety concerns, FWP said in a news release. The adult male mountain lion was in poor physical condition and expressing abnormal and potentially dangerous behaviors.

Area residents had reported sightings of a mountain lion wandering a populated neighborhood in the middle of the day during the past week. On Saturday, a homeowner reported to FWP their dogs had treed a mountain lion on their property, likely while the mountain lion was attempting to kill the homeowner’s chickens. Mountain lions are solitary, elusive animals that are typically most active at dawn and dusk. The bold behavior displayed by this mountain lion is abnormal.

There are mountain lions near Billings and surrounding communities, but they typically avoid heavily populated areas. The mountain lion euthanized in Lockwood was skinny and was likely in the neighborhood looking for easily accessible food sources, such as chickens. Many wildlife struggle to find food during the hot, dry conditions of late summer. Mountain lions can be found across most of Montana and eat primarily deer and elk.

State policy prohibits the relocation and/or rehabilitation of mountain lions due to their territorial behavior. Historically, relocation efforts for mountain lions have failed. The removal of this mountain lion was the only option to protect the safety of area residents, FWP said.

If you encounter a mountain lion, do not approach it, and do not run away, which could trigger a predatory response. Instead, make noise and try to appear larger with your arms or clothing. If you encounter a lion within city limits or near a residence, contact FWP or local law enforcement.

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