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By Hilde Kate Lysiak
The Patagonia mountain lion shot and killed by authorities earlier this afternoon posed an “Immediate threat” to the community, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Authority.
“The mountain lion posed an immediate threat to the community,” said Regional Supervisor Raul Vega of Game and Fish in Tucson. “It was persisting in a residential area apparently unafraid of people, was emaciated and in apparently poor health.”
The Patagonia Mountain lion was shot dead minutes after a resident called law enforcement after spotting it “licking its paws” under his trailer on Roadrunner Avenue earlier this afternoon.
“I saw the mountain lion sticking right out from under my trailer. A big one!” Rudy Oucho exclusively told the OSN.
“So they came down and shot him,” added Oucho.
The lion wasn’t threatening anyone, according to Oucho. “It was just sitting there….licking its paws,” he said.
Law enforcement fired three shots at about 12:20 pm to take the mighty beast down.
The feline could then be seen being hauled into a nearby truck.
However, the department said the threat to the public was real.
Arizona Game and Fish Department and Patagonia Marshal’s officers said that the approximately two-year-old male mountain lion was beneath a mobile home when they arrived on-scene and that it was so unafraid of humans that an animal control officer got within three feet of it. The department also said the lion was resistant to hazing.
Yesterday the OSN had a harrowing face to face encounter with the Patagonia Mountain Lion — and lived to tell the tale. The dramatic evens unfolded while the OSN was on assignment biking down Pennsylvania Avenue at 6:30 pm when suddenly the majestic beast appeared 12 feet ahead, causing the reporter to slam on the breaks of her bike.
The OSN didn’t make any sudden movements, knowing that running could cause the mountain lion to give chase out of instinct. Several dramatic seconds passed before the stunning creature turned into the hummingbird sanctuary, slowly walking off into the tall grass — but not before the Orange Street News was able to snap the picture above.
Mountain Lions have been seen with increasing frequency in Patagonia. In February a Patagonia woman was shocked to discover that she was sharing her house with a mountain lion. Cindy Peterson woke up on the morning of the 15th and looked out the same window and saw a pair of paws coming from underneath her porch.
“At first, I saw the paws and was like wow that’s a big kitty, cause there are cats that run around the area, but as I started looking at it more I realized it was a mountain lion. She was just sitting there, licking her paws, not a care in the world […] We can hear, it must climb up the tree’s cause we can hear it pouncing on our roof.,” Peterson told the Orange Street News.
Mountain lion attacks are very rare.
A total of 125 attacks, 27 of which fatal, have been documented in North America in the past 100 years, according to Wikipedia.
Meanwhile, in the United States there have been 302 deaths from lightning strikes between 2007 and 2016.
“Did they take it away?”a visibly upset Peterson asked. “Couldn’t they just have put it to sleep over something?”
A necropsy will be done on the mountain lion, which may also be rabies tested, according to the department.