Authorities Kill Mountain Lions Feeding on Human Remains

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Arizona hiking trail temporarily closed down, though officials don't believe cats killed person

Arizona authorities killed three mountain lions that were found feeding on human remains near a popular Tucson, Arizona, hiking trail last week. The Arizona Game and Fish Department said in a statement that they did not believe the adult female and two cubs killed the person, but the cats were still a danger to the public because they showed no fear of officers trying to remove the remains.

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

"We thought the risk was too great and we had to take action," Mark Hart with the Game and Fish Department told CBS affiliate KOLD-TV. "Mountain lions are not routinely scavengers. Mountain lions prefer live prey and they're very good at killing live prey. And there's abundant javelina and deer in the Catalina foothills so why it happened in this case, we're just not sure."

Officials say the feel certain they put down the correct animals as they had photo evidence of them near the remains. Their paw prints also matched the tracks they found. 

"It's an indicator in the future that they were likely to attack, so our decision was to take those lions out of that area," Hart said. 

The medical examiner is working to identify the deceased individual and the cause of death.

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