Tuesday, April 25, 2006

CSI, Mountain Lion

I just got this press release from the Division of Wildlife. All I have to say is, if you can't prove he bit, you must acquit. Too bad the accused has already been executed...


The Colorado Division of Wildlife has received the results of the necropsy on the mountain lion that was killed after the attack on a 7-year-old boy last week. While evidence shortly after the attack indicated this was the lion involved, results from further testing were inconclusive.

A protein test was conducted to look for human blood on the lion. Twenty-one samples were taken from the claws and the mouth area of the lion. However, human blood was not detected in any of the protein tests conducted.

“We are still confident that this is the lion that attacked the boy,” said Tyler Baskfield, public information specialist for the DOW. “We know that this lion was tracked from within 30 yards of the attack site, we know that this lion was killed within a half-mile of the attack site nearly 6 hours after the attack took place. We would like to be able to say for certain that we killed the right lion, but unfortunately all we can say is that these protein tests neither confirm, nor disprove that this is the lion that was involved in the attack. The rest of the evidence points to the fact that this is the right lion.”

While DOW officers were on scene about 2 hours after the attack, the lion ran by the officers who were standing near the attack site. A shot was fired by a Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Ranger. Officers are not sure if the lion was hit. Returning to an attack or kill site is normal behavior for lions.

The highest recorded density of adult mountain lions in a North American study showed between 3.5 and 4.6 lions per 100 square kilometers. So the odds of another lion being this close to the attack site are low even if the lion density in this particular area is high. The trained tracking dogs didn’t indicate any other trails or lion tracks in the area.

The female lion was about 5 years old, weighed 84 pounds and was in excellent body condition. Rabies analyses were negative on the brain of the lion. The lion’s stomach was found to contain the remains of a rabbit estimated to have been ingested five or six hours earlier. It is believed the lion had born kittens in the past, but was not nursing kittens at the time it was killed.

“There are an infinite number of scenarios that could have had a factor in why these results were inconclusive,” said Baskfield. “Typical lion behavior could have destroyed evidence in the six hours before we were able to kill the lion. Lions tend to groom themselves. They will extend their claws while traveling, especially when trying to flee what they perceive as a threat such as the tracking dogs.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What would the world be like if the rest of the us played by the same rules as the DOW. Shot on assumption.