F&G says chances of catching cougar slim

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(Courtesy photo via Facebook)Holly Moore shared this photo taken by a neighbor's game camera after reports of a cougar killing three alpaca and a miniature horse in the area of Colburn Culver, Rapid Lightning and Lower Pack River roads.

SANDPOINT — Idaho Department of Fish & Game officials say chances are slim that the mountain lion which killed a miniature horse on Tuesday will be located.

“It’s very unlikely we’ll be able to trap that cat,” said Fish & Game Conservation Officer Matt Haag.

Haag said the cat would have likely returned to the area where it took the horse to check on its prey, although the horse was buried. Haag said the mountain lion likely moved on to another location after being unable to find the horse it killed.

“It would have come back and checked,” said Haag.

When livestock is killed by wildlife, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s wildlife services division is brought in to track and kill the offending animal. If a human is attacked by wildlife, Fish & Game would investigate.

The Bonner County Sheriff’s Office put out a public notification on Tuesday that the miniature horse, in addition to three alpacas and possibly a deer.

However, Haag said no alpacas were killed and the deer found on the Idaho Club either died of natural causes or was struck by a motorist. Haag said Fish & Game was not consulted before the Nixle notification was released.

Haag said the alpaca killings may refer to killings that took place earlier this year.

Haag said the horse killing — in broad daylight — was atypical cat behavior. He suspects the cat was either old, sick or starving. It could also have been a younger cat which hasn’t figured out how to make its way in the world.

“People with horses shouldn’t be scared,” Haag said.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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