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Three mountain lions killed after feeding on human remains near hiker trail

'Abnormal' behaviour meant cougars posed 'clear and present danger to public safety', officials say

Chris Baynes
Thursday 02 January 2020 11:58 GMT
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Officials said the mountain lions 'showed no fear of responding officers'
Officials said the mountain lions 'showed no fear of responding officers' (iStock)

Three mountain lions have been killed by Arizona authorities after they were found feeding on human remains near a popular hiking trail.

The cougars are not thought to have killed the victim but were deemed to be a danger to the public as they showed no fear towards officers trying to the remove the remains, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) said in a statement.

A pathologist and Pima County Sheriff's Department are working to identify the person found on Tuesday morning off the Pima Canyon Trail and establish a cause of death.

The area in the Coronado National Forest, near the city of Tucscon, was closed for a day while officials attempted unsuccessfully to trap the mountain lions.

The trail at the base of Mount Lemmon reopened on Wednesday after the animals were killed.

Raul Vega, regional supervisor at the AFGD, told local news channel KGUN the cougars “were a clear and present danger to public safety”.

He added: “Mountain lions are not routinely scavengers. A mountain lion eating human remains is abnormal behaviour. Those that do are more likely to attack a human being in the future.

"In addition, they did so 50 yards from a popular hiking trail and within sight of homes, and repeatedly showed no fear of responding officers."

The department gave no details about how it killed the mountain lions, but said the animals’ bodies had been preserved as possible evidence in the human death investigation.

An autopsy was due to be carried out on the person's remains on Thursday.

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