Mountain Lion That Attacked Deputy Tests Positive for Rabies

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

According to the necropsy, the male cat was otherwise in good shape

©Russell Graves photoEarlier this week, I wrote about a mountain lion that attacked a Colorado deputy and civilian. Both escaped with minor injuries, but now they must undergo additional treatment because the mountain lion tested positive for rabies. 

According to Denver.cbslocal.com, both bite victims have been notified and the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment is managing the rabies-exposure investigation and response.

On Wednesday, March 11, deputies from the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, rangers from Larimer County Natural Resources and CPW wildlife officers all responded to a mountain lion attack near an RV park along the Big Thompson River.

As Larimer County Sheriff’s Office deputies tried to contain the mountain lion, it attacked a deputy. Multiple shots were fired at the animal, but it escaped across the Big Thompson River and to near a residence on Black Crow Road, where a CPW wildlife officer shot and killed it.

Both victims were sent to the hospital with injuries.

A necropsy showed the male lion was in good body condition, weighing 91 pounds, and had a mild skunk odor.

CPW released this statement about rabies in wildlife populations: 

While it is unknown how the mountain lion contracted rabies, it is possible that it was bitten by a smaller prey animal that was also rabid. In the spring, as some wildlife become more active, CPW regularly sees an uptick in rabies activity, especially in skunks.

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This is the twenty-third known attack of a mountain lion on a human in Colorado since 1990.