(CBS4) - Wildlife officials in southwestern Colorado are sharing with excitement the news that a mountain lion may be making Montezuma County its home after it traveled across hundreds of miles in a journey that was closely watched. The mountain lion was given the name Squeaks by tribal wildlife officials in New Mexico where it used to live, and it is collared so its movements can be tracked using GPS.
On July 5 the 2-year-old mountain lion left his home range near Albuquerque and began traveling northwest for an unknown reason. He crossed into Colorado on Aug. 24. In late September a wildlife camera near Mancos captured Squeaks taking a drink from a big water trough in the middle of the night.
Since then Squeaks has made his way into Mesa Verde National Park, and there's a possibility his long journey may finally be over. He has traveled 558 miles, according to a Facebook post on Wednesday made by the Pueblo of Santa Ana Department of Natural Resources. That included two impressive 300 yard open-water swims across a section of Navajo Lake. He dined on elk calves, porcupines and raccoons along the way, in addition to other food sources that aren't clear.
"We're still not sure if Mesa Verde National Park will become his new home, but if it does, at least we know he has good taste in real estate," the Pueblo of Santa Ana Department of Natural Resources wrote.
Tribal officials hope that by sharing news of the locations of Squeak and 6 other lions they've captured and put GPS collars on people will become more educated about the importance of "maintaining connectivity across the landscape for wildlife to move through." They say at one point in his journey Squeak appeared to be very hesitant about crossing Highway 550 in Colorado before he finally decided to go under it by traveling underneath a bridge.
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