A mountain lion was shot and killed in Montana’s Glacier National Park on Saturday after the animal attacked two dogs that belonged to a park employee. In a press release, park officials said that the attack occurred when the employee returned to her residence and her dogs immediately raced out of the car. The woman later found a cougar involved in a scuffle with her pets, and enlisted the help of other housing residents to try and separate the animals. One of the dogs managed to get out of the fight and return back to the residence.

“Other housing residents heard the dogs, lion and employee yelling, and ran to offer assistance,” wrote park spokesperson Denise Germann.  “A shovel was briefly used unsuccessfully to separate the mountain lion and dog. The animals tumbled over an embankment near the Flathead River. Another housing resident arrived with bear spray and began throwing rocks and logs. The mountain lion pinned down the dog near the river’s edge.”

At this time a park ranger was called and arrived to assist. Concluding that the mountain lion presented not only a danger to the dog but also the gathered residents, the ranger ended the fight by fatally shooting the large cat. The dog was later rescued from the river and sent to a veterinarian.

It was not the first time that a cougar ventured into the employee housing area in Glacier National Park. Several weeks ago park officials had hazed another mountain lion after it strayed near homes and offices. As large predatory cats, mountain lions are especially dangerous to pets and small children, although they very rarely attack humans.

There is a significant population of cougars in the park, with some still situated near the Glacier headquarters area. In an encounter with a mountain lion, officials advise making loud noises while backing away. The safest thing to do while facing the predator is to avert your gaze, make yourself as large as possible, and talk calmly. In the event of an attack, fight back as aggressively as you can. Although they can be powerful critters, mountain lions generally do not want a fight.

Image from wplynn on the flickr Creative Commons

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  • Justice Seeker

    The cat WAS NOT aggressive, the employees dogs were, and were not under control or on a leash. IMO, the employee caused that mountain lions death!

  • RPJ

    I have to agree that it seems that all the lion was doing was defending its self from 2 aggressive dogs. Article should have been titled, Lion shot for self defense.

  • Doc Johnson

    Good job Ranger. The cat was hunting pets. It was stalking the neighborhood area because usually the pets are easily killed because they’re tied down. The cats aren’t. Advantage cat. Big cats, bears, wolves, and even coyotes will go out of their way to kill dogs. Not necessarily to eat, but that is a factor, more to eliminate what they deem a threat or competition.

    These dogs must’ve been pretty big, and tough. Especially the one that received the brunt of the cats intent. Like a good dog will, they jumped the owners control to do what they are there for. That is to protect the environment they are employed for. The dogs did not leave their area to harass the cat. They were aware of its presence and did their job. The person was unaware of the present danger.
    Normally the cat would not even want to be there, but this one had lost its fear of humans and ventured into an area it shouldn’t have. Not that it is not allowed, but that it did something outside of what is considered instinctually sound. Even by cat standards. It was the best thing overall, since the people that were present are there to maintain and protect the exact habitat that is “home” to a lot more cats, and the folks, their pets, and their living standards are worthy of conservation as well.

    • Leslie Smarter than U

      Doesn’t happen….find a lead me to a place where dogs are being killed in the numbers that you elude too – doesn’t happen. These dogs should have been on a leash and the Mt. Lion would have never been noticed. They are resting in the day time, it was protecting itself from dogs that didn’t know what they were getting into. Had the owner been responsible it would have never happened and no one would have been the wiser!!! All your hoopla is pure hot air. Let us see how many humans have been attacked by Mt. Lions or wolves in the last 100 years. LEASHES ARE THE LAW!!! I AM SURE THERE IS A LEASH LAW IN THE PARK. People who don’t have their dogs on a leash cause my dog, who is leashed, to be in danger more so than a Mt. Lion is a danger to a dog that is following the rules. In the Black Hills YOU MUST have your dog on a leash but so many people don’t that it ruins many outings that I take with my leashed dog. UNLEASHED DOGS ARE A HAZARD TO OTHER LAWFULLY LEASHED DOGS AND A HAZARD TO THEMSELVES.

  • Leslie Smarter than U

    Justice Seeker, I so agree, This happened out of anger for someone who did something stupid. I live in the Black Hills and would never have my dog off leash for fear she would catch a smell and take off. However, people who don’t use leashes both put my dog at risk and ruin many outings for me and my dog because we cannot relax to so many foolish people who won’t leash and control their dogs. This happened to be this persons fault, all by themselves. Dogs are supposed to be on leashes, in fact it is against the law here and I am sure there are leash laws where this happened.

    • Doc Johnson

      Do you have them leashed inside the car? Because I dont. The report says they bolted out of her car. I assume she was trying to leash them but they “immediately” jumped out of the car. That sometimes happens. Unfortunate. Doesn’t mean she was negligent or letting them run.
      I didn’t claim any number or rate of dogs being killed by cats, wolves, and bears but everyone knows it happens. There would be no reason for the cat to hang around a residential area other than looking for food. Even if it was just resting it still broke away from what I mentioned is considered normal. You’re right it would never have been noticed because it would never have been there.
      Here on the reservation in northern Wisconsin we must have big and bad dogs to protect our homes and property from an onslaught of predators. They are attracted by the dogs at the same time so you’d better have a dog that can take care of itself. They must be leashed, so even more reason to have a tough dog. We also have 50 ft chains to give the dog a fighting chance so we can get there before they’re dead. We’re not always there quick enough. They lose their fear of people and dogs because their are no repercussions for their choices. It’s happening more and more so don’t tell me what I live. What I said still goes, those people, their pets, and their property are worth conservation as well. The cats, wolves, and bears don’t care about that. So we live in that cycle forever.