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Mountain Lion In Morrison Finally Retreats Back Into The Foothills

MORRISON, Colo. (CBS4) - A mountain lion that was in a tree in Morrison all day Friday has finally retreated back into the foothills, but earlier even some deer were not enough to lure the animal down.

The mountain lion climbed up in the tree about 8 a.m. Wildlife experts wanted the animal to take off on its own. They didn't want to tranquilize him because he didn't do anything wrong.

The mountain lion spent about 13 hours perched in a cottonwood tree. Wildlife officials say many times people don't even notice them.

"Just majestic and beautiful and awesome," Suzanne McGarry said. "We're so lucky to live here that we can see this in our backyard."

But as the hours wore on, the problem became the people. Wildlife officials could tell by the lion's behavior.

"We think that this cat would really like to go," Jennifer Churchill with Colorado Parks and Wildlife said.

How often he turned around, his panting, and at times his ears laid flat -- a sign that usually means he is angry.

"It's a good sign that he's staying up there, it shows this cat is afraid of people," Churchill said.

PHOTO GALLERY: Mountain Lion In Morrison

By evening wildlife officials hoped to calm the animal by clearing out the crowd. It did seem to help. The lion lounged and took a cat nap for a while.

"Hard to tell whether or not this cat ate in this neighborhood this morning or not," Churchill said.

One deer lurked below the mountain lion, and then eventually another one, and then a third. It was a buffet for the lion, but he didn't move.

"If we have to put our hands on the animal and tranquilize him, we have to ear tag him, which means he has one strike against him," Churchill said.

A second strike would mean it would have to be euthanized. As soon as the sky turned dark, the mountain lion fled the area.

Mountain lions are a lot like bears, as they are generally not interested in people.

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