Yosemite National Park wildlife biologists euthanized two mountain lions late last week. The lions displayed threatening behavior and were routinely sighted by visitors and employees alike in the developed part of eastern Yosemite Valley.
The two lions, an adult female and a sub-adult, were trapped and then euthanized by lethal injection.
The lions had been seen, often hunting as a pair, in Curry Village, Yosemite Village, and by the Ahwahnee over the last three weeks. There is a large population of raccoons in this area, drawn to an abundance of human food available, that the lions used as prey. Wildlife biologists began tracking the pair and used aversive conditioning in an effort to keep the animals away from developed areas. These efforts were, however, unsuccessful.
Biologists were concerned that the lions were spending so much time in developed areas of the valley and showed no fear of the people around them. The situation became more serious when one of the lions displayed stalking behavior toward humans.
Park management decided to take action to ensure visitor safety in Yosemite Valley. This area of the valley sees high visitation, including families with children and youth groups. It was determined that immediate action needed be taken after considering all the factors.
Yosemite National Park is a natural habitat to mountain lions. While the lions were relying on their natural hunting instincts, their increased interest in humans and the possibility that they regarded humans as prey caused serious concern.