December 19, 2018
Three Mountain Lions Are Euthanized After Finding and Eating Human Body on Popular Hiking Trail
- Police said they had found human remains on Pima Canyon Trail north of Tucson
- Three lions, though not believed to have harmed anyone, were killed Tuesday
- Arizona Game and Fishing Dept. said they were more likely to attack humans
- Pima County Sheriff's Dept is still trying to establish the victim's cause of death
PUBLISHED: 07:13 EST, 2 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:06 EST, 2 January 2020
Pima County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday the human remains were found at Pima Canyon Trail in the hills north of Tucson. The lions were put down after human remains were found in their droppings
Three mountain lions have been killed in Arizona after they were found feeding on human remains near a popular hiking trail. Pima County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday it had found human remains at Pima Canyon Trail in the hills north of Tucson.
Officials from the Arizona Game and Fish Department said the three lions aren't believed to have killed the victim. Authorities believe the body was already in the vicinity when the lions found it. 'We do not believe the lion attacked the individual who died there.
An autopsy will tell us more. But our belief is they were eating the human remains after the fact,' Game and Fish spokesman Mark Hart told local TV station KGUN9.
Authorities said feeding on human remains made the lions a danger. The lions were killed after human remains were found in their droppings.
'Rarely scavengers, such abnormal behavior made them more likely to attack humans in the future,' Game and Fish said in a statement, adding the big cats 'repeatedly showed no fear of responding officers'. Hart said relocating the big cats was not an option.
'When you move a mountain lion in this part of the world, you're just going to put it into another lion's territory, they're very territorial and will fight to the death over a piece of real estate,' he told KGUN9.
Police said investigations are ongoing into what had happened to the victim and an autopsy will be conducted this week.
One of the lions was an adult female and the two younger lions weighed more than 100 pounds. Police closed the Pima Canyon Trail while they investigated the incident. The trail was reopened on Wednesday.
There are believed to be between 2,000 and 2,700 mountain lions across Arizona. Mountain lions are shy and elusive and primarily hunt deer, the Game and Fish Department website says.
'Although uncommon, mountain lion attacks on humans occasionally occur.' Last February a trail runner in neighboring Colorado survived a mountain lion attack by suffocating the 80-pound animal.
W. O. Belfield, Jr.