With winter in full swing, mountain lion activity is expected to increase in Boulder. Activity near town trends upward during the colder months. Recent mountain lion activity has been seen in the area of 15th through 17th streets and Iris through Orchard avenues. We encourage community members to take precautions and be prepared if they encounter a mountain lion. If you encounter a lion, the following suggestions may be helpful:

  • Do not approach a lion. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
  • Stay calm when you come upon a lion. Talk calmly and firmly to it. Move slowly.
  • Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion's instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.
  • Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you're wearing one. If you have small children with you, protect them by picking them up so they won't panic and run.
  • If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. What you want to do is convince the lion you are not prey and that you may in fact be a danger to the lion.
  • Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools and their bare hands successfully. Remain standing or try to get back up.

Community members can also help deter mountain lions by making their yards unattractive to them. Removing access to potential food sources such as domestic pets, goats and chickens can help discourage their presence. Mountain lions make use of areas with low lying brush such as juniper bushes and evergreen trees that provide cover on the ground where it is easy to hide. Removing this type of landscaping from your yard can also help discourage mountain lion presence.

Though mountain lion activity and pet depredation in Boulder is common, the risk to humans is extremely low. To reduce the risk of mountain lions on or near your property, we urge you to follow these simple precautions:

  • ​Make lots of noise when you are outside, especially from dusk to dawn when mountain lions are most active. The human voice is startling to a lion.
  • Install outdoor lighting.
  • Closely supervise children when they are outdoors. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.
  • Landscape or remove vegetation to eliminate hiding places for lions, especially around children's play areas. Make it difficult for lions to approach unseen.
  • Avoid planting non-native shrubs and plants that deer often prefer to eat, as predators follow prey. Do not feed any wildlife!
  • Keep pets under control. Roaming pets are easy prey and can attract lions. Bring pets in at night. If you leave your pet outside, keep it in a kennel with a secure top. Do not feed pets outside as this can attract raccoons and other animals that are eaten by lions.
  • Place livestock in enclosed sheds or barns at night. Close doors to all outbuildings since inquisitive lions may go inside for a look.
  • Store all garbage securely, as unsecured trash attracts prey animals like racoons.
  • Share these simple precautions with your neighbors. Prevention is far better than a possible lion confrontation.

Mountain lions have been a part of the Front Range ecosystem for thousands of years. They are both territorial and solitary. When a mountain lion establishes its territory, it is often the only lion in that area. If a mountain lion leaves its territory, another mountain lion takes it over. Because of this, removing or relocating lions observed in the city does not reduce potential conflict. Rather, the focus is on building education and awareness about lions in the community. Relocation and removal of lions from the city is reserved for individual animals that pose a direct threat to humans through abnormal or aggressive behavior.

To learn more about mountain lions or to report a mountain lion sighting in the city, visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.