Injured mountain lion euthanized after it was found on trail in Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A mountain lion discovered Tuesday afternoon on a popular Steamboat Springs trail was euthanized Tuesday evening by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers.
“Something was wrong with it,” area wildlife manager Kris Middledorf said.
Middledorf said a mountain biker was on the Morning Gloria Trail on Emerald Mountain when he discovered the animal about 4 p.m.
“All of the sudden, he came around the corner, hit his brakes and a mountain lion was on the trail,” Middledorf said.
An animal control officer from the city of Steamboat Springs responded to the scene, in addition to a wildlife officer.
The animal was still partially on the trail and still breathing but would not respond to audible or physical stimuli.
“Best course was to euthanize it,” Middledorf said.
After removing the animal, a wildlife officer discovered the mountain lion had a wound on his right hip about an inch and a half in diameter. The hair around the wound was also missing.
Middledorf was not sure whether the animal had been shot or if the wound was the result of some sort of goring injury. The wound was not bleeding.
The lion was a smaller female estimated to have been about 2 years old.
The animal will be taken to Fort Collins, where a necropsy, which is the animal version of an autopsy, will be performed to determine the cause of death.
With an above-average snowpack following a snowy winter, local firefighters and wildlife experts are expecting a mild fire season this year, especially at higher elevations.