Mountain lion sighting in Diamond Valley keeps residents alert; tips for wildlife encounters

Stock Image | St. George News

DIAMOND VALLEY — Officers responded to a report of a mountain lion sighting Thursday evening in Diamond Valley, one of several sightings in the area according to the small gathering of neighbors and residents that met with officers to discuss their concerns. No injuries or interaction with the animal were reported.

Paw print neighbors reported seeing near roadway on W. Sapphire Drive, Diamond Valley, Utah, June 9, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Just after 6:30 p.m., an officer was dispatched to the 900 block of W. Sapphire Drive in Diamond Valley after a resident reported seeing a mountain lion running on the side of the road, Sgt. Brock Bentley with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said.

Upon arrival, the officer found several neighbors who were congregating near the corner of W. Sapphire Drive and W. Amethyst Drive, less than 100 yards from the reported sighting.

Area resident Russ Bartlett had called 911 shortly after witnessing the mountain lion walking in the gravel on the east side of W. Amethyst Drive until it disappeared from sight.

Bartlett listed this sighting on a billboard that is maintained for the residents where they can receive updates and current events by logging in on their computer, he said.

Washington County Sheriffs' Sgt. Brock Bentley near last sighting on W. Amethyst Drive, Diamond Valley, Utah, June 9, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
Sgt. Brock Bentley near recent mountain lion sighting on W. Amethyst Drive, Diamond Valley, Utah, June 9, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Bentley spoke to the group of concerned residents and advised them to take normal precautions should the animal be sighted again and to call Division of Wildlife Resources. Bentley said if it’s after normal business hours, they can call dispatch to report it.

The Division of Wildlife Resources was also contacted for this particular incident and dispatched a conservation officer to the area.

What to do if you encounter a mountain lion

Cougars, also referred to as “mountain lions,” are solitary animals, making them a rare sight for humans. These animals live throughout Utah.

The Division of Wildlife Resources provides safety tips to those living close to, visiting or recreating in “Cougar Country.”

Although unlikely to happen, there are ways to react when encountering an aggressive cougar, either in the wild or near your home. Knowing how to react can reduce the chance for injury.

  • Do not run from a cougar. This will provoke an instinctive prey response and the cougar may pursue.
  • Look intimidating. Make eye contact with the cougar, which the animal considers a threat, as well as making yourself look larger by raising your arms and waving them. Speak loudly and firmly to the cougar.
  • If you have children, pick them up.  Try to pick children up before they panic and run, while maintaining eye contact with the cougar. Avoid bending over too far or turning your back on the animal.
  • If you are attacked, fight back. Protect your head and particularly your neck, which is a target for a cougar.  If the animal thinks it is not likely to win its fight with you quickly, it will probably give up and leave.

Other recommendations for residential areas include using outdoor and motion-sensitive lighting, which deters cougars while allowing them to be seen; removing dense vegetation that cougars can hide in; maintaining a deer-proof yard since deer are the main staple of cougars; and feeding pets indoors, as cougars have been known to eat pet food.

If you encounter a cougar in a residential area or if you have an encounter with an aggressive cougar, alert the Division of Wildlife Resources office closest to you. In St. George, call 435-879-8694.

When you call, an employee will notify a conservation officer of your encounter or transfer you directly to law enforcement personnel. If the encounter or sighting occurs after hours or on the weekend, call the police or 911, and they will contact a conservation officer to handle the situation.

For other tips on wildlife encounters, visit Wild Aware Utah.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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10 Comments

  • .... June 10, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Here’s a tip for you. ..Hey Stupid ! the mountain lions were there first. .

  • .... June 10, 2016 at 11:42 am

    You don’t like bears in your yard ? then stop building houses where bears live !

  • .... June 10, 2016 at 11:43 am

    You don’t like getting bit by sharks ? then stay out of the sharks domain !

  • .... June 10, 2016 at 11:46 am

    You want a president that knows what they’re doing ? good luck there isn’t one available ! LOL

    • Real Life June 11, 2016 at 5:07 am

      Meds. Quickly find them.

      • .... June 11, 2016 at 11:51 am

        Awwwww look everybody the cry baby is all upset because he feels left out. ! . #fundraiser@crybabynolifehasnofriends

        • Real Life June 11, 2016 at 1:02 pm

          I see you have not found them. Keep looking, they are in that trailer, somewhere.

          • Bob June 11, 2016 at 2:52 pm

            ahaha

  • wilbur June 10, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    (hasn’t been one for the past 7-1/2 years either)

    • .... June 11, 2016 at 11:52 am

      the last 7 1/2 years has been a circus

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