TUCSON, Ariz. — This week there have been two mountain lion sightings. One in the Catalina Foothills, believed to be a mother and her kitten. The other, by itself, near Sunrise and Wilmot.
Arizona Game and Fish Department says mountain lion sightings are common in Tucson. But what makes these two cases so significant to the agency is that they are documented.
"You have to bare in mind that, a lion moving through an outlying area of the foothills, not a big deal in our world. It's happened a half dozen times since December with various locations in Tucson with photographic evidence," said Mark Hart, the public information officer with AZGFD in Tucson.
The challenge with mountain lions is monitoring them. This is why it is crucial that if you see a mountain lion, you report it to AZGFD.
"The first video that came in wasn't reported to us. It had gone to another source. It would have been important for us to talk to the person who reported it and ask them some questions. Specifically, what was the mountain lion's behavior? Because what we watch for is menacing, stalking behavior that could lead to a dangerous situation," said Hart.
But Hart said a mountain lion simply moving through an area is not cause for alarm, just caution. They are curious cats who will roam looking for food but rarely stay in one area for long.
"Obviously bigger, more predatory animals, like bears and mountain lions, are a public safety issue depending upon the behavior. And others are just a nuisance. Bobcats, coyotes and javelina come to mind," said Hart.
The difference between bobcats and mountain lions:
- Mountain lions have long tails, while bobcats do not
- Mountain lion are tan, while bobcats are not
AZGFD urges you to call (623) 236-7201, if you see a mountain lion or another large, and potentially dangerous animal.
Recently AZGFD had to lethally remove a mountain lion from Patagonia for public safety reasons. The agency said that was the first time in 10 years it has had to do that. AZGFD takes about 80-100 phone calls a year about mountain lion sightings in southeastern Arizona.