BernCo Animal Care Services helps transport mountain lion

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Bernalillo County Animal Care Services can now add mountain lion to the long list of animals workers have seen come through its doors.

“Bear cubs, alligators, other exotic animals, we get a lot of deceased badgers,” explained Tiffany Chamblee, Engagement and Outreach manager. “This is our first mountain lion that we’ve had in our facility.”

A county officer saw a deputy pulled over in the East Mountains last week, then saw why they were pulled over.

“I was told that it’s possible that it was still a juvenile, but it was still larger than most of the dogs we get in here,” said Chamblee.

They believe someone hit the mountain lion with their car near Tijeras. The state Department of Game and Fish couldn’t get there to transport the animal, so the county stepped in. 

“I mean it’s devastating that unfortunately it was deceased, but it’s something that you don’t see every day,” said Chamblee. 

The team took photos of its paws, claws, and tooth– also something they don’t see every day. 

Darren Vaughan, Communications Director for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, says there are few things that can draw these large cats so close to the public they typically fear. 

“They can be drawn into those urban areas a little bit when there’s the presence of a human created food source,” said Vaughan. “If people are feeding deer and things like that then obviously the deer themselves become a food source for those mountain lions to come into town.”

If you see a mountain lion, their fear can also translate to aggression. 

“Just generally try to appear as large as possible, then if it continues to approach you start yelling you can throw rocks or sticks at it to try and scare it off,” said Vaughan. “The best way to avoid these kinds of encounters is avoid hiking or walking alone at dawn or dusk.”