Susanne Haala

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July 27, 2012
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Mountain lion concerns businesses after killing deer at Lake Tahoe

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — A mountain lion killed a deer close to the Zephyr Cove Lodge and campgrounds Wednesday, but officials say there is nothing to worry about.

Chris Healy, public information officer of the Nevada Department of Wildlife, said the lion does not display any aggression or unusual behavior.

“There is nothing to panic about,” he said. “They are just doing what they are supposed to do (hunting for mule deer in the area).”

But the incident caused a lot of concern around the location, which includes the Zephyr Cove campgrounds at the Lodge and Zephyr Cove Stables.

Trinette Requena, trail guide at Zephyr Cove Stables, said she was the one who discovered the deer.

“I was definitely concerned about the horses,” she said. “I was the first one to see it on the side of the trail, but didn't know a mountain lion got a hold of it until I got back (to the barn) and I was told there were claw marks on her and tracks on the trail.”

Alyson Andreasen, a PhD student who studies behavioral ecology to model meta population dynamics of mountain lions at the University of Nevada, Reno, came out after the owners of Zephyr Cove Stables called to report the incident. She put up a box trap with the dead deer cadaver inside in an attempt to catch the lion Wednesday night.

“He never came back,” Andreasen said Thursday, but added that there was a lot of activity in the area that possibly scared him away.

Andreasen, who does research on the behavior and diets of mountain lions for her studies and puts GPS collars on the lions to keep track on their activities, said that the box trap was removed Thursday morning because the mountain lion was not likely to come back.

Healy explained that a coyote might be a bigger threat for any other animals or pets and that the Tahoe Basin is a wild area where everyone who is visiting or living there needs to be aware of wild animals.

As long as the lions are on a healthy diet, they stay away from humans and domestic animals as much as possible, he said.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jul 27, 2012 07:09PM Published Jul 27, 2012 07:07PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.