LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — People have questions about the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s (NDOW) decision to euthanize a mountain lion in the southwest valley. The department is now explaining why they came to that decision Tuesday.
The wild cat was spotted at an apartment complex during the early morning hours. After reportedly trying to sedate it multiple times, wildlife officials say they needed to do something before someone got hurt.
“I saw the back of it go under a car,” Kedric Jones told 8 News Now. “I said, ‘dang, that look big.'”
The urban complex is the last place you would expect to see a mountain lion.
“We saw a guy walking his dog, and we was like, ‘Sir, hold on, there is a mountain lion out here,” Jones recounted.
He says he was shocked by the sighting.
“I don’t know how he got in there, but it was terrifying for a minute.”
Jones tells us it took two hours to get the cat out.
NDOW officials say it was euthanized at the complex. That decision sparked outrage on social media, with many people questioning why the cat wasn’t sedated and relocated.
“We tried multiple times to sedate the animal, and after multiple attempts were unsuccessful, we made the difficult decision to euthanize it for public safety reasons,” explained Ashley Sanchez, a public information officer with NDOW.
She says after being in that complex for some time, they were worried about someone getting hurt.
“We are in an apartment complex where there are people around. Anything can happen,” Sanchez said.
She stresses while they want to protect wildlife, they also protect the public.
Mountain lion sightings are up, as another one was spotted this past April. So far, there have been 31 sightings this year, compared to 15 in 2020.
Sanchez says urban growth and drought conditions are contributing factors:
“Whether it is pools, fountains, golf courses, there is an abundant food and water supply in neighborhoods, which they are not able to find in the wild right now.”
They do expect more sightings as the drought continues. Officials are asking people to not feed or give water to mountain lions or coyotes.
The mountain lion that was spotted in the southwest was sent to a lab for testing, as well.