Researchers Seeing if Colfax Mountain Lion had Brain Illness

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The fact that mountain lion attacks in humans are very rare is not quieting all the fears of folks eager to get outside this weekend and hike parts of California.

Necropsy results on the latest big cat to corner a human are not yet complete, but experts have some insight into what may have happened.

“Deer are the primary prey for mountain lions. Generally, mountain lions do not look at humans as potential prey,” said California Fish and Game warden Mark Michilizzi.

But, that does seems to be what a young adult mountain lion was doing last Saturday along Stevens trial in Colfax when a helicopter had to scare the big female cat away from a too-close of an encounter with a hiker.

Experts say it  may have been testing it’s hunting territory and trying to learn what counted as food in the area.

“Generally, people would not see a mountain  lion. It  was stalking a man and then stalking the officer that returned to the scene the very next day,” said Michilizzi.

That officer killed the lion.

The necropsy will be able to tell wildlife officers if the big cat in question had any illness affecting its brain and the last time it had eaten before Saturday’s  incident.

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1 Comment

  • Evyholland

    I have been in the area of this incident for the past few weeks. When i'm in the wilds i always look for sighn, ( tracks) to get an idea of what animals have and are around. I noticed a couple of weeks ago in the fresh sand in the willows , cat tracks. They were not huge , so i new it was a young cat. Living in the california mountains most my life , Ive always have paid particular attention or being more alert in lion country, wich is all of california. by the way, just because of the nature of the beast. Bears can be bad , but not as bad as a hungry lion. I went back the next weekend, and met a fellow prospecter who actually saw the cat a few feet from him. My prospecter friend said the young cat was not scared of him at all. The prospector didnt notice the lion behind him when he was gold panning in the river, so he doesnt know how long the cat was watching him. The young cat strolled on later.
    Either the cat was just curious , not hungry, or just didnt want to tangle with the prospector. All of witch
    is normal behavior. Just watch your back in the back country, specialy when bringing your young ones.
    I think the heli pilots did a great job. The lion came to close to a populated family area. Theres plenty of acreage east where mountain lions need to be. Theres plenty of mountain lions in california. You people who want to save every animal because there cute , Well, Bring back the Grizzly bear then! You dont think they were here in california? Just look at the state Flag.