Cougar sightings spike, caught on camera

News

SANTA FE (KRQE) – Big cats are popping up around New Mexico from churches to right off of the freeway and they’re keeping wildlife officials busy.

Cougars or mountain lions are no stranger to The Land of Enchantment and over the last week officials are seeing quite a few make public appearances.

“There may have been a few more calls here and there because of the high profile incidents like in Los Alamos and Raton,” Dan Williams, a spokesman for New Mexico Game and Fish said.

Cameras outside of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Los Alamos captured a visitor, a mountain lion wondering around just a week ago.

“If it’s determined that the cougar might be a threat to people or pets or property then we’ll dispatch an officer to check it out,” Williams said.

Further north, up in Raton, Game and Fish had to kill a cougar after it attacked and killed a puppy on Thursday.

In Torrance County, close to I-40 on May 22, one of the animals was spotted and relocated.

KRQE News 13 asked Game and Fish why the sudden spike in sightings.

“Sometimes in the spring time it can be a little bit busier because that’s the time of year when some of the mother cats might be kicking some of her kittens out of the nest.”

Back in March, a woman living in Ruidoso was even attacked by one of the animals. She woke up in a pool of her own blood and huge gashes in her head.

All things considered, Game and Fish said so far it’s seeing what it normally would this time of year.

“From what we’ve heard from our people and our calls were getting and reports and complaints it seems to be tracking about normal,” Williams said.

When asked about the recent weather and how much rain we’ve been seeing, Game and Fish said that wouldn’t mean more sightings. Officials said Mountain Lions do follow deer so they urge people not to feed them.

In that Raton incident, officers believe the Mountain Lion was drawn to the home because the woman there was feeding feral cats.

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